Henry Singleton. "The Curate of the Parish Returned From Duty."
London, circa 1800. Engraved by T. Burke. 14 x 11 3/4. Narrow margins. Wear along bottom margin. Otherwise, very good condition.
Here a young curate is returning from his religious duties. At first, the scene seems to display a joyous domestic scene. However, traditional symbolism may suggest that all is not quite well. The yellow chair rails mimic the birdcage hanging outside the door creating a connection between the wife and the caged bird. While the small dog, Fido, a symbol of fidelity, is nipping at the young man's coat. Such symbolism was common through the nineteenth century.
Henry Singleton (1766-1839) was a British artist of genre, historical, literary and biblical themed scenes. He was a precocious talent, exhibiting at the Society of Artists at age 14 and entering the Royal Academy Schools three years later. He exhibited at the Royal Academy every year from 1784 until his death in 1839 and also at the British Institution beginning with its founding in 1806. Many of his paintings were made into stipple engravings which became widely popular. A fine example of his work.
Another engraving after Singleton on a related subject: