Archive for October, 2010

The Hireling Shepherd 1852

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

The Hireling Shepherd 1851

On the surface this is a Pre-Raphaelite painting by the artist William Holman Hunt (1827-1910) of a shepherd and shepherdess in the vivid colours of an English landscape.  However, it has many different layers of meaning and a fascinating history.  Here are just some of them and we’ll return to this painting in a future blog.

Landscapes in art had regularly used images of shepherds and shepherdesses but always in an artificial and beautiful manner.  Holman Hunt however favoured what he called ‘social realism’ and wanted to paint real people which led to his critics commenting that his models looked “…ill-fed, ill-favoured, ill-washed…”.  This was a shocking portrayal to many in the art world.

One of the meanings of the painting comes from the debates of the time between the Catholic Church and the Church of England and Hunt asserted that he intended the couple to symbolise the pointless theological debates which occupied Christian churchmen while their “flock” went astray due to a lack of proper moral guidance.

 The are many details within the painting.  The sheep wander off into a neighbouring cornfield or are asleep, having over-eaten.  The lamb on the lap of the shepherdess eats on unripe apple and the shepherd shows a Death’s Head moth to his companion.

 This painting was much admired by Salvador Dali and and it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1852.

 You can view this painting in Manchester City Gallery in Room 3 on the first floor.  Visit the Manchester City Art Galleries’ website for more information at

Intermezzo offer assistance with income generation and sponsorship to Museums, Art Galleries and Heritage Properties. For more information contact us at or on 0141 636 6929

Sarcophagus of Pabasa 656-640BC #museumfact

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Sarcophagus of Pabasa 656-640BC

Pabasa was the most powerful male official of his day in Upper Egypt.  Pharoah Psamtek I appointed him as Great Steward to his virgin daughter Nitocris who ruled Upper Egypt on the pharaoh’s behalf.   The shape is that of the mummified Osiris, god of the dead, with whom Pabasa wishes to be identified.  Figures of the sisters of Osiris, Isis and Nephthys and the goddesses Neith and Serket are shown at the foot and head of the trough.  On the side of the trough are Thoth (the ibis-headed man who records the judgement of the heart), Imsety (the human headed son of Horus who protects the liver), Anubis (the jackal-headed man who is god of embalming, and Duamutef (the jackal-headed son of Horus who protects the stomach).

This sarcophagus was acquired by Alexander, the 10th Duke of Hamilton, who was an early Victorian collector and eccentric, and he placed it in the Egyptian Hall of Hamilton Palace.  His wish was to be mummified on his death and to this end he acquired another sarcophagus for himself which was to be placed in the family mausoleum.  Unfortunately he purchased a female sarcophagus which was not big enough for him and after his death his feet had to be broken so that he would fit inside.

You can view this sarcophagus in the Egyptian Room on the ground floor of Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum in Glasgow.

Intermezzo organise private viewings of Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum and offer assistance with income generation and sponsorship to Museums, Art Galleries and Heritage Properties. For more information contact us at or on 0141 636 6929