Artist: Arthur Elsley Title: The See-Saw (Happy Days) Paper Size: 27"w x 32"h Image Size: 23"w x 28"h Medium / Edition :Paper / Limited About this Piece: This painting was also called "Happy Days"and the original is an oil on canvas 35"x 29", which was painted in 1891.
The subject of this work is a timeless children's pastime and is featured in numerous paintings throughout the centuries.
It was also published as a colour chromolithograph in size 22"x 18"entitled "Happy Days"and presented with the Penny Illustrated Paper for the Christmas 1893 issue.
A colour illustration of the print is contained in the book "The Golden Hours"published by Richard Dennis in 1998.
The appealing quality of Elsley's paintings were easily understood and presented a cosy, idealised world of happy smiling children and their animals. Elsley displayed much warmth and affection for his subjects and the sentiment in his art gave great pleasure and comfort to ordinary people.
It is so true to life that the girls look to be having a lot of fun but the puppy looks slightly worried being up on the edge of the see-saw. About the Artist: Before the 19th Century, animals were kept in their place in paintings. However, the Victorian era brought with it a huge expansion to the middle classes, most of whom kept a pet. These newly "respectable"families took delight in seeing human emotions and familiar domestic situations portrayed through the antics of animals in art.
Arthur John Elsley was a fine example of this phenomenon of Victorian animal art. He was born on the 20th November 1860 in London, the son of John Elsley, a coachman, and one of a family of six. His father was an amateur artist who had exhibited an oil painting entitled "A Group of Horses"at the British Institution Exhibition in 1845. At the age of 14, he gained entry to the South Kensington School of Art, later to become the Royal College of Art, and in 1876 he became a probationer at the Royal Academy Schools at a time when Sir Francis Grant was President and subsequently succeeded by Lord Leighton. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1878. In 1889 he shared a studio in St. John's Wood with Fred Morgan, who had just scandalously divorced his wife, the artist Alice Havers. Elsley certainly helped Morgan with some of the animals in Morgan's paintings. He married his second cousin, Emily, in November 1893. She and one of her sisters had modelled for Elsley for at least 10 years and they set up home in St. John's Wood.
By the turn of the Century, he was living in Queen's Grove in St. John's Wood and had fallen out with Fred Morgan over an accusation that Elsley had used one of Morgan's ideas. His work became more adventurous and on a grander scale. He worked from oil sketches and photographs, together with the child and canine models in the studio who sat individually and who were never in the studio at the same time. He showed regularly at the Royal Academy for many years. Elsley's sight was such that sometimes he used opera glasses in order to see his models.
During the First World War, he worked part-time at munitions and was given the exacting task of filing the jigs used to test gun sights in the making. This was ideal for his short-sightedness but put such a strain on his eyes that he virtually produced no paintings of any substance after the First World War.
He died at his home in Tunbridge Wells in 1952, aged 91. Description: All Prints are sale priced everyday! Professionally Frame any print from our dealer gallery starting at an additional $199 and receive free shipping! Click here to view the framing options.
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