Miss Maud Wethered;
By decent to V. D. Wethered, his sale, Sotheby's, London, 4 January 1947, lot 145 where bought by Sir David Scott for £25
London, Burlington Fine Arts Club, Winter Exhibition, 1938-9, no.11
R. E. A. Wilson, Paintings by William Etty RA, London, 1933, no.1;
Dennis Farr, William Etty, London, 1958, cat. no.164, illustrated pl. 67
'Eliza Cook (1818-1889) was a minor poetess who wrote popular stuff, some of which was set to music. I remember as a child having sung to me a song whose words she had written. The refrain ran "I love it, I love it, and who shall dare to chide me for loving the old arm chair?" As you can guess from the portrait her poetry was highly sentimental. I like her little lilac jabot, her charming ringlets and general appearance of sentimentality.' Sir David Scott
The self-educated Eliza Cook was the daughter of a Southwark tinman. She came to notice with her first volume of verse, Lays of a Wild Harp, in 1835. From this time on her poems were published in periodicals, notably the Weekly Dispatch (where the most popular of all her poems, The Old Armchair appeared in 1837). She was the editor and author of Eliza Scott's Journal from 1849 to 1854, where further poetry and articles on matters such as women's education and the campaign for literacy appeared. Cook's poetry was unapologetically sentimental and domestic in its themes and appealed to popular taste. She was, however, progressive in her views and gained considerable influence becoming an agent for social reform particular in relation to the condition of women in the mid Victorian period. Her reputation spread as far as the United States, whose society she regarded as a model to which Britain should aspire.
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