About this artwork

The title of the painting is ironic. Walton depicts herself holding up her new-born son, Edward, for intense scrutiny, whilst her elder boy, Gavril, clutches his golly doll. Although the toy is now acknowledged as a racist caricature, they were commonplace in British childhoods until the 1960s. The image of mother and baby is usually associated with Madonna and Child but this picture, which deliberately echoes a well-known impressionist image of a sex worker – Olympia by Edouard Manet, suggests a more uneasy attitude to motherhood. The carefully placed details - petals on the floor, the apple - add to the sense of unease.

Updated before 2020

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Cecile Walton

Cecile Walton