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Title The Music Lesson
Collection Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery
Artist Andreotti, Federigo (Italian painter, 1847-1930)
Date Earliest possibly about 1875
Date Latest possibly about 1900
Signed yes
Description The painting depicts the interior of an 18th century drawing room. To the right is an old man in a wig and 18th century costume sitting at a piano. He is the master of this lesson. To the left are two young women singing from sheet music, his pupils. They are lavishly dressed, the one on the right in pink, the one on the left in blue and gold. The sumptuous furnishings of the room are depicted in great detail. This is a type of historical genre that was extremely popular in the late 19th century, and traded on a curiosity and nostalgia for the golden age of the 18th century.
Current Accession Number BLKMG:P140
Inscription front ur 'F Andreotti'
Subject interior; everyday life; figure
Measurements 101.6 x 76.2 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Bequeathed by Henry Harrison J.P. 1914.

This subject is absolutely typical of Andreotti's oeuvre, there is an image of a similar painting by him in the National Gallery Photographic Library (painting exported by Frost & Reed, 1955), which depicts two young lovers flirting while the attention of their aging music-master is distracted by the more elevated concerns of the piece he is playing. The Blackburn painting does not have the salacious subtext, but plays equally on the ‘comedic' contrast between the two beautiful young ladies and their old, short-sighted music-master.

Henry Harrison (b. 1834), of Stanley, Preston New Road, Blackburn, was the third and youngest son of Joseph Harrison, iron-master. He joined the family firm at Bank Foundry and travelled abroad on business, however, he made his own fortune in the cotton industry. He was founder and first president of the Blackburn Chamber of Commerce, served as an alderman, Mayor 1880-1881, and JP. He was a generous public benefactor; founding the Harrison Gymnasium and Harrison Girl's Institute; and his service to the community honoured in 1909 when he became the third Freeman of Blackburn. In 1908 he lent two paintings to the exhibition at the Carnegie Library in Accrington: cat. no. 90. ‘Dutch Boats. P. J. Clays, 1819-1900. Lent by Hy. Harrison Esq., J.P., Blackburn.' And cat. no. 128. ‘Landscape. Patrick Nasmyth, 1787-1831. Lent by Hy. Harrison, Esq., J.P., Blackburn.' (Catalogue of the loan Exhibition of Pictures, Organised by His Worship the Mayor, Held in the Carnegie Library, February and March, 1908, Accrington, 1908, pp. 19, 25)

At the exhibition he would have rubbed shoulders with some of the most important cultural benefactors in the area: including William Haworth, who would bequeath Hollis House (the Haworth Gallery building) and a substantial collection to Accrington; George Nuttal, whose collection would also enrich the Haworth Art Gallery; Richard Haworth, the Blackburn art dealer; William Duckworth and Walter Farnworth of Blackburn; and Sir Thomas Higham, who organised the exhibition, seeded the Carnegie Library Collection, and donated his Vernet to Accrington.

Rights Owner © Blackburn Museum & Art Gallery
Author Malcolm Barclay



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