Helen Paxton Brown

'Shade of what ho'

About this artwork

‘What ho’ is an old-fashioned expression used to attract attention or as an enthusiastic greeting. It seems that Paxton Brown is making a witty comment here on the issues faced when drawing and painting in a public art gallery i.e. that you yourself become a spectacle for visitors to observe. The exaggerated and comical stance of the female character here and the inscription that contains the phrase ‘what ho’ both seem to suggest that the painter is calling out for attention. It is interesting to note that Paxton Brown’s methods for creating sketches like this was to draw from memory, meaning that she avoided the issues of drawing in a public environment.

Helen Paxton Brown

Helen Paxton Brown