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Thomas Jones Barker came from a family of artists. Unlike the rest of his family, he did not stay in Bath but had a successful career working in London and Paris. His picture of Queen Victoria presenting a Bible to an African prince is now in the National Portrait Gallery in London. This picture of a young girl on her deathbed was painted for the daughter of King Louis Philippe of France. It is Barker’s most famous painting, and he won prizes and medals for it in France. It tells a sad story. It is inspired by a ballad about the death of a young woman on the day before her wedding. Many of the objects in the picture have been chosen for their symbolic meanings. The hourglass beside the bed shows the passing of time and the shortness of life.
The Bride of Death
oil on canvas
H 124.5 x W 167.1 cm
BATVG : P : 1923.5
gift from Alderman Cedric Chivers, 1923