June 6th, 2020

Sir Luke Fildes (1843-1927)

Applicants for Admission to a Casual Ward

This is his best-known painting for good reason. Fildes was a social campaigner in a Dickensian sort of way, and used many of his paintings and illustrations to advance his aims. He was descended from Mary Fildes:

The Village Wedding
A more typical Victorian genre painting.

The Doctor
Partly inspired by memories of the doctor who attended a young child of his who died of typhoid. It became briefly famous in America when used in a campaign by the American American Medical Association after the war against 'socialized medicine' (which is rather ironical, because Fildes would undoubtedly have been approved of the founding of the British NHS at around the same time, which was initially opposed by the British Medical Association).

A detail from the latter