The Victorian age brought British society not only industry, but also fairy tales.
Our female painter and sculptor, Amy Cobham Brewer, grew up in a world of fiction. In 1870 her father, Reverend Ebenezer Cobham Brewer, wrote a very popular ‘Dictionary of Phrase and Fable’. Our painting dates from 1892. It’s title ‘Will you walk into my parlour?’ is the opening line of the famous poem ‘The Spider and the Fly’ by Mary Howitt, published in 1828.
About Amy Cobham Brewer
English painter and sculptor.
Date of birth unknown - 1942
Daughter of the famous author Reverend Ebenezer Cobham Brewer (1810 – 1897). He married her mother, Ellen Mary, in 1856.
Amy married with a solicitor from Rochester in Kent, Mr. Richard Evans Prall (who passed away 28/05/1933).
Before her marriage Amy exposed four times in London at “The Royal Academy’s annual Exhibition of the Work of Living Artists”, England’s most important exhibition of living artists (it still runs, this year was the 251st one):
- in 1893 a bronze relief design of salamanders;
- in 1894/95/96 each time a painting: “Love in Idleness”, “Beware of Goblin Men” and “The Snare”.
Amy Cobham Brewer died 5/07/1942. Both Amy and her husband are buried at the cemetery of All Saints Church in Frin(d)sbury in Kent. I do not think the couple had any children, as none are mentioned on their tombstones.
Our painter’s father published two very popular books:
- circa 1840 “A Guide to the Scientific Knowledge of Things Familiar”;
- in 1870 the “Dictionary of Phrase and Fable”. Three revised editions were published in 1889, 1894 and 1900. Nineteen more editions were published between 1953 and 2018 (from the 16th onwards the original content was widely changed). This book is a reference work that contains definitions and explanations of many famous phrases, allusions and figures, whether historical of mythical.
About our painting
The title of our painting is the opening line of the famous poem “The Spider and the Fly” by Mary Howitt (1799 – 1888), published in 1828. It is one of the most recognized and quoted first lines in all of English verse.
The poem is a cautionary tale against those who use flattery and charm to disguise their true intentions.
Why should you buy this painting?
Because this marvelously poetic Victorian painting holds the middle between an Art Nouveau enamel broche and the illustration of a fable.
How very different it is from the huge “Maman” spider sculptures by Louise Bourgeois (1911 – 2010).