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Charles West Cope, 1811–1890
Home Dreams
Materials & Techniques:
Oil on canvas on panel
25 1/8 x 30 1/4 inches (63.8 x 76.8 cm)

Signed and dated in red paint, lower right: "CWC. 1869" monogramed.

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
bridge (built work) | chair | cityscape | costume | drawers (furniture components) | dream | genre subject | interior | night | night | plants | plants | plate | seamstress | sewing basket | sleeping | spool | table | tankard | thimble | thread | Victorian | window | window | window sill | woman
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

In the middle of the nineteenth century, the seamstress emerged in the popular press as a powerful image of exploited labor. Parliamentary debates about the rights of urban workers in this period frequently focused on the many women who took in piecework and endured difficult conditions to scrape together a living with their needles. Charles West Cope’s work follows the pattern set by earlier images of urban seamstresses, which were often inspired by Thomas Hood’s popular poem “The Song of the Shirt,” first published in an early Christmas issue of Punch (1843). Like Anna Blunden’s “For Only One Short Hour” (shown nearby), Home Dreams suggests that the memory of a rural home left behind for work in the city provides the only relief from the long hours of low-wage labor.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016

Ladies of Shalott (Bell Art Gallery, 1985-02-23 - 1985-03-24) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Beth Harris, Famine and fashion : needlewomen in the nineteenth century, Ashgate Publishing, Aldershot, UK and Burlington, VT, 2005, pp. 29, 31, HD6073 .C6 H37 2005 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Susan P. Casteras, The substance or the shadow : images of Victorian womanhood, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 1982, pp. 32, 67, no. 20, fig. 27, N7630 C27 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

Malcolm Cormack, Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 68-69, N590.2 A83 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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