Completed British 19th C, except portraits 15 Is this painting by or after Frederick Goodall RA (1822–1904)?

Topic: Artist

In 2008 Sotheby's offered for sale ‘Mother and Child’, a watercolour painting by Frederick Goodall, signed with his monogram and dated 1865.

Artnet illustrates an oil version, ‘The Palm Offering’ 1863.

Another comparable painting is ‘Bedouin Mother and Child (Afterglow)’ 1871, at The Wilson, Cheltenham.

There are significant paint losses, including in the area where a monogram and a date might be found. The PCF image is attached.

Scott Thomas Buckle, Entry reviewed by Art UK

1 attachment

Completed, Outcome

This discussion is now closed. The title of this painting has been changed to 'The Palm Offering' and the attribution to 'after Frederick Goodall'. It can be dated ‘1863 or later’, which was when Goodall exhibited his painting at the Royal Academy.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this discussion. To those viewing it for the first time, please see below for all the comments that led to this conclusion.


The condition does not help but Goodall's other variants (and there appear to be more in various forms as well) appear to be better modelled - esp. in the figure of the child) and use plain fabrics for the robe, not this 'coat of several colours'. He' usually a very smoothly polished painter including in the finish of his landscape backgrounds and the the brushwork and colour elements of that here are comparatively rough. It's also very small, so if it were Goodall would that suggest a perhaps preliminary study or a rapid small replica? Given the most significant change is the robe pattern, not other aspects of composition, perhaps the latter would be more likely. It certainly needs 'Goodall' somewhere in the attribution but I'm not sure how one would do it.

Kieran Owens,

Whether painted by Frederick Goodall or not, this painting should not be entitled "Hagar and Ishmael". That painting, exhibited as item No. 6 at the RA in 1866, is described in the attached reviews, from which it can be understood that is has specific compositional details including vultures, a camel's carcass and the figure of a young boy on foot. This discussion's painting is a copy (most likely not be the artist, given so much of its poor handling) of the work that Goodall exhibited at the RA in 1863, reviews of which are attached and which clearly describe the same painting.

Immediately following that year's presentation of "The Palm Offering", Goodall was made a full member of Royal Academy, as his describes on page 221 of his "The Reminiscences of Frederick Goodall, R.A." (Walter Scott Publishing Co., 1902).

The work under discussion might, therefore, be better renamed as:

"The Palm Offering", after Frederick Goodall. (c.1866)

Kieran Owens,

A version of 'The Palm Offering' by Frederick Goodall was auctioned at the Christie, Manson & Woods sale of the collection of Mr. Duncan Fletcher. Art Detective participants with a connection at Christies might be able to find out if this was an oil or a watercolour and what was the size of the work on offer. See attached report from the Manchester Courier of Tuesday 23rd May 1865.

Scott Thomas Buckle,

I agree with Pieter and Kieran that the painting is more likely after Goodall than by him. Excellent research, Kieran, regarding the painting's correct title. Well done!

Kieran Owens,

It should be noted that Frederick Goodall had a son, Frederick Trevelyan Goodall, who was an accomplished artist in his own right. It could be the case that some of Frederick Snr's works were copied by him. Also, from contemporary newspaper reports it would appear that Frederick Snr presented watercolour reworkings of some of his earlier oil paintings, so there is definite cause for care the considering what was painted by father and son and when.

An excellent biographical description of Frederick Snr's life can be seen here:

Kieran Owens,

Additionally, an extraordinarily comprehensive assessment of the Goodall family can be seen here, which includes in the long list of his known works the following statement:

"Palm Offering 1863 RA Elected to the R.A. this year. purchased by Sir Thomas Lucas. Smaller copies were also made."

Kieran Owens,

And finally (for tonight), when, on the 19th May 1877, Christies auctioned off the watercolour collection of John Knowles of Manchester, Frederick Goodall's "Palm Sunday" (27" x 19") was sold for 525 guineas. Perhaps these dimensions might help in identifying at least one of the atrist's versions of this subject.

Kieran Owens,

My apologies. The above title should have read "Palm Offering".

Howard Jones,

Frederick Goodall describes his original painting of this scene as being based on sketches made in Egypt. Not only is the dress more colourful in Kingston Lacy version but so are the mountains in the background. The blue hills may be more typical of landscapes around Lebanon rather than Egypt suggesting that when copied a later artist was providing a Middle Eastern instead of an Egyptian setting.

Peter Nahum,

This is a copy. We all know that Goodall deteriorated as an artist due to drink, but those are not the same as this. This is an amateur pastiche of the original.