Bairnies Cuddle Doon

Robert Hutchison, Artist

This is one of the paintings in our collection. It was made in United Kingdom in circa 1900.
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Object Detail

About the Work
This painting, likely executed in the late nineteenth century, is a typical of the work of Scottish artist Robert Hutchison. Children in repose and quite domestic scenes were characteristic of his practice and rural and coastal settings were his forte. Working long after the Industrial Revolution had changed the face of rural Britain, Hutchison presented scenes of idyllic country life, images of a lifestyle that had long disappeared, if it had ever really existed.
In Bairnies Cuddle Doon we see four children (bairnies) being tucked into their bed. With one child already asleep, the others are being settling down with rosy cheeks and cheeky smiles. The walls are bare and the bed sleeps all four children but each child looks happy, healthy, plump and warm. Flowers brighten the windowsill, the bedding is clean and tidy and a doting mother tucks the children in. The picturesque presentation of these cherubic children belies the realities of pastoral life and childhood trauma in Britain in the nineteenth century.
The Industrial Revolution began in Britain the late eighteenth century and saw the rise of mechanical production as a replacement for cottage industry and bespoke craftsmanship. Production of goods moved from the country to cities and while this was a time of great progress, it also signalled the end of a primarily agricultural economy. The factories were the new employers, for adults and children alike, and the working conditions were often dire.
The reality of this life was something to be escaped, and there was an artistic movement towards nostalgia and constructed scenes which glorified the pre-industrial lifestyle. The most well-known proponent of this movement was John Constable, who painted tranquil country scenes. Hutchison’s Bairnies Cuddle Doon acts as an attempt to recapture an innocence that many felt had been lost in the wake of progress.
- Chronicle article by Sarah McClintock, August 2013
Image 1056 x 984mm
Frame 1443 x 1380 x 110mm
oil on canvas
Large painting depicting a woman tucking four children into one bed. The bed is placed directly under a window which illuminates the scene.
Credit Line
Collection of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui. Gift of the artist's daughter Mrs Ross Townsend, 1946.
Collection Type
Permanent collection
Acquisition Date



Accession Number:

Part of 1 highlight set