Augustus Leopold EggPast and Present, No. 3 1858

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Augustus Leopold Egg (1816‑1863)
Past and Present, No. 3
Date 1858
MediumOil paint on canvas
Dimensionssupport: 635 x 762 mm frame: 781 x 925 x 90 mm
Acquisition Presented by Sir Alec and Lady Martin in memory of their daughter Nora 1918
On display at Tate Britain
Room: 1840


This is the third of a set of three modern-life pictures on the theme of the fallen woman. The other two (N03278 and N03279) are also in the Tate collection. They are typical of the social moralist pictures that were popular in Victorian art.

The theme of the triptych is the discovery of the woman's infidelity and its consequences. In the first scene the family are still together, and the husband has just learned of his wife's adultery. The second scene takes place five years later. The father has recently died and the mother has been driven out of her home, a fallen woman. The two orphaned girls comfort each other, the elder gazing sadly over the rooftops towards the moon. In this third picture the moon occupies the same position in the sky, indicating that the scene is taking place at the same time… (read more)

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