Victorian Friendship Pictures

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These delightful and varied pictures, often small in scale, represent the Victorian art of collecting original artworks as mementoes of friendship and exchange. As such, they take on a particularly intimate charm and reflect the relationships and interests of their past owners. The works of art would often meditate on the value of friendship, communicating values of loyalty and steadfastness, and feature a whole range of subjects and media – including botanical and animal studies, nautical scenes, landscapes, military subjects and small portraits – all with some personal connection to the owner. Taken as a whole, these works are a fascinating record of Victorian popular tastes and culture.