About this artwork

Master Baby became one of Orchardson’s most popular and well known paintings. Writing about the life of her father, his daughter Hilda told how Orchardson was struck by the grace of his wife’s figure as she entertained their young son Gordon with a fan. He began to sketch the figures from life, but according to Hilda ‘the baby would only play with the fan for five or ten minutes at a time, and then howled, so a Japanese doll was used as a lay figure.’ Orchardson also made separate studies of the wicker sofa and a drawing of the baby’s head. This drawing is an excellent example of his preparatory work, and demonstrates his subtle drawing style. He paid careful attention to the outline of his subject, and once explained to a student that this led ‘to a true understanding of the form.’

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
  • title:
    Mother and Child. Study for the Painting 'Master Baby'
  • date created:
    About 1886
  • materials:
    Charcoal on paper
  • measurements:
    (framed: 113.80 x 153.00 x 4.00 cm)
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Mr Robert Burns Gift 1932
  • accession number:
    D 3817
  • gallery:
  • subject:
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
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Sir William Quiller Orchardson

Sir William Quiller Orchardson