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Home from Sea

Photo credit: Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

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The genesis of this painting began in 1857, when it was exhibited as 'The Mother's Grave'. The original composition, known from a drawing in the Ashmolean, showed the boy desolate over the grave of his mother. The landscape was begun in the summer of 1856 in the old churchyard at Chingford, Essex. Around 1862, Hughes altered the background and added the figure of the sister, for which the artist's daughter, Tryphena, posed. The detail is used to reinforce the pathos of the subject, so that the ephemeral nature of spider's webs, dew drops, dog roses and dandelion seeds all emphasise the theme of transience. The boy's loss is retold in the lamb separated from its mother by the barrier of the tomb.

The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology





oil on panel


H 50 x W 65 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Presented by Vernon Watney, 1907

Work type



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The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology

Beaumont Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 2PH England

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