1. Punch published a cartoon version in which a “Dr. Dubitans” in the pose of Fildes's doctor says, “I'm afraid I've given him the wrong stuff” (“The Pick of the Pictures”). In 1894 the Times noted of an engraving of Arthur Burrington's A Bribe that “the publisher's advertisement describes it as ‘a companion picture to “The Doctor” by Sir Luke Fildes, R.A.'” (“New Etchings and Engravings”). In 1897 the Liverpool Mercury published a poem entitled “‘The Doctor.’ Suggested by Mr. Luke Fildes’ celebrated picture bearing the same title” (Runcorn). One tableau vivant was part of the popular series at London's Empire Theatre (“Empire Theatre”), another at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair subsequently went on tour, and yet another at the Royal Albert Hall was staged with dolls (“The ‘Truth’ Toy Show”; The Chicago World's Fair tableau and the Edison film are both mentioned by Warner .)
2. For an overview of the contradictory ways Fildes's painting has been used in debates over universal health care, see Warner.
3. See, for instance, Bao, Barrett, Brody, Claman, Moore, Rolak and Rokey, Shankar and Morgan, Silverman, Sweeney, Warner, “The Way They Lived Then,” and Wells.
4. Regarding representations of the sickroom in other areas of Victorian popular culture, especially the novel, see Bailin.
5. Julia Thomas nicely sums up this slippery circularity with respect to narrative painting in particular: “perhaps images are not simply ‘shaped’ by culture; perhaps they also work to ‘shape’ it, to determine what culture is. Culture, after all, is constituted by representations; it does not exist separately from them but is produced in these discourses and practices” (Pictorial Victorians 17).
6. For a discussion of Victorian genre paintings’ popularity, see Treuherz 17, Maas 104-05, and Reynolds 94. For Wilkie's and Hogarth's formative influence on British and European narrative painting, see Barlow 63-64 and Meisel 164-65. Regarding the rising popularity of the Royal Academy's annual summer exhibitions, see Stevens 31-33.
7. Even a survey of the paintings treated in this essay shows parents as consistently younger than The Sick Boy's white-haired man, and other paintings by Clark in particular repeatedly show young parents with dark hair in scenes spanning a wide socio-economic spectrum (e.g., Bedtime, Mother's Darling, By Firelight, Crumbs From a Poor Man's Table, A Family Gathering, The First Steps, and Motherly Comfort, as well as The Sick Child).
8. For more detailed history of nineteenth-century medical professional stratification, rural vs. urban practice, class implications of various kinds of medical intervention, etc., see Carr-Saunders and Wilson (75-102), Davidoff and Hall (Chapter 5), Digby, Loudon, Newman, Parry and Parry (Chapters 6 and 7), Peterson, and Porter.
9. The fact that it is fathers rather than mothers who care for the sick children in these scenes is worthy of further analysis than the current line of argument allows. As Casteras notes, “While images of maternal concern and vigilance abounded, the paternal equivalent was less numerous, although it is significant that lower-class fathers were frequently depicted being more demonstrative and solicitous than their upper-class counterparts” (Defining Moment 62). The trend seems to align with Tosh's argument that the “‘nursing father,’ who fed his children and watched over them when ill” was a less viable masculine role for bourgeois men as a growing separation of middle-class work from home by mid-century was accompanied by expectations that middle-class men would spend more time away from their families in order to provide for them (138).
10. One might read the child in Charity as having just died, but her face bears at least a tinge of pink, unlike the deathly white children in Fildes's The Widower or Brooks's own Resignation (about which more below), and she gazes up at the mother, who is less clearly in a moment of crisis than the recently bereaved parents in either of those paintings. Whether the child is gravely ill or recently deceased, however, the implications with respect to medical intervention remain the same.
11. Indian shawls, and later their European imitations, were highly fashionable in England and France beginning in the mid-eighteenth century, and although the fashion “was declining in the 1860s” (Buck 109), the shawl nonetheless “did not disappear from the middle-class wardrobe because it was now affordable by the poor. It continued to exist at all social levels until the 1880s” (Alfrey 31). Even though by 1870 one of the fine Jacquard-woven English imitations of the genuine Kashmir shawls “could be bought for as little as £1,26 and the identical pattern printed on cotton for only a few shillings” (Irwin 25), the rare working-class woman in 1865 who owned a highly colored and finely woven shawl like the one shown in Farmer's painting would likely have worn it only in public and “for special, ritualistic occasions only” (Alfrey 32), not for keeping a private sickroom vigil.
12. Although full-bearded doctors are not necessarily the norm in visual representations, there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that late-century patients tended to favor bearded practitioners, at least in some regions and at some moments. Frustrated at his initial failure to thrive in medical practice in Sheffield in 1878, for instance, the young Arthur Conan Doyle lamented that “Those Sheffielders would rather be poisoned by a man with a beard, than saved by a man without one” (qtd. Lellenberg et al. 103).
13. Similar views are expressed by Bao (37-38), Barrett (105), Moore (211), Nuland (94), Shankar and Morgan (333), Silverman (1182), and Warner (1452).
14. In this anti-sentimental assessment Fry agrees with his Bloomsbury colleague Clive Bell, who sees The Doctor as “worse than nugatory because the emotion it suggests is false. What it suggests is not pity and admiration but a sense of complacency in our own pitifulness and generosity” (19–20).
15. Others who have also commented upon the economic contrasts and their moral implications include Thomas (Victorian Narrative Painting 50–51), Barilan (68), Verghese (122), and Fry (398), who finds the moral dimensions of the division insidiously amiss, as noted above.
16. See, for instance, Bowman, Elkington, Fuller, Gregory, Haldane, Johnson, Simpson, Spence, and West.
17. Such notions of disinterested service vs. commercial motivations were central to the evolving ideology of professionalism in general. Duman, for instance, describes “a unique ideology based on the concept of service as a moral imperative,” which “. . .allowed the professions to reconcile the concept of the gentleman with the necessity to work for a living” (114). Perkin likewise speaks of an ideology that supposedly raises the professional “above the economic battle and. . .plays up mutual service and responsibility” (117).
18. One seemingly defensive response to this vitiating distance from conventionally masculine public roles was an increased cultural emphasis upon heroic doctors as super-masculine warriors against disease, as Michael Brown has compellingly shown. From the other side of the gender divide, a similar vein of essentialist reasoning figured in the debate surrounding the appearance of the first female doctors in the 1850s and '60s. As Athena Vrettos nicely sums up, “A number of early women physicians such as Elizabeth Blackwell and Harriet Hunt used the domestic ideology that defined women as inherently more moral, sympathetic, and sensitive than men to argue that these unique qualities made women ideally suited to certain branches of medicine” (94).
19. Fildes's letter to Henry Tate of 6 May 1887, qtd. Fildes 108.
20. Fildes's letter to Henry Woods of 6 July 1890, qtd. Treuherz 87.
Daily News, 30 Nov. 1892, qtd. Dakers 266.
22. “It may be noted in passing,” says Fildes's friend and first biographer David Croal Thomson, “that the Doctor has considerable personal likeness to the artist himself” (29–30), and “There was no mistaking it,” notes Harry How; “Numerous people had posed for the medical man, many were the borrowed features, but unwittingly the Royal Academician had – at any rate, to my mind – chronicled on the canvas what his own face will probably look like ten years hence!” (126-27).
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