The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
A Visit to the Boarding School
  • George Morland (1763 - 1804)
  • A Visit to the Boarding School
  • England
  • c. 1788
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 61.7 x 74.7 cm
  • Signature: 'G Morland.' Indistinct
  • P574
  • Boudoir
Further Reading
  • George Morland was an English artist, primarily known for his paintings of animals and rustic subjects. This picture, however, is an interior scene and shows a mother visiting her daughter at boarding school. A schoolmistress leads the girl into a room where her mother waits expectantly. Two other schoolgirls can also be seen peering shyly across the threshold. The painting articulates a widespread reaction against boarding schools, which was prevalent in the eighteenth century following Rousseau’s call for greater parental involvement in the rearing of children. Although the mother greets her child with open arms, she remains seated and the girl is clearly hesitant to see her. Its companion picture, Visit to the Child at Nurse, now in the Fitzwilliam Museum, illustrates the estrangement between the same mother and daughter when an infant.
    An early biographer stated that John Raphael Smith (1752-1812) ‘directed Morland in painting this subject’ (Hassell, 1806, p.153). The painting was engraved in 1789 by the artist’s brother-in-law, William Ward (1766-1826).