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The Marchioness (from Dickens'
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The Marchioness (from Dickens' "The Old Curiosity Shop")

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description Miller frequently made drawings of subjects from popular literature, particularly the works of Charles Dickens. The subject of this unusual painted character study is a humorous incident from Dickens' "The Old Curiosity Shop" (1841), which turns out to have far-reaching consequences for the larger plot of the novel. The clerk, Dick Swiveller, plays cribbage while his masters are away: "As these games were very silently conducted . . . Mr. Swiveller began to think that . . . he heard a kind of snorting or hard-breathing sound in the direction of the door, which it occurred to him, after some reflection, must proceed from the small servant, who always had a cold from damp living. Looking intently that way one night, he plainly distinguished an eye gleaming and glistening at the keyhole; and having now no doubt that his suspicions were correct, he stole softly to the door, and pounced upon her before she was aware of his approach." Swiveller nicknames this small servant "the Marchioness" and teaches her to play cribbage.
Date Description Narrative
  • Alfred Jacob Miller: An Artist on the Oregon Trail. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore; Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth; Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody. 1981-1982.
  • Alfred Jacob Miller: Maryland and the West. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore; Washington College, Chestertown; Frostburg State University, Frostburg; Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, Rockville. 1988.
  • Great Illustrations: Drawings and Books from the Walters' Collection. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2010.
Provenance Miss Margaret Hodges [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1977, by gift.
Credit Gift of Miss Margaret Hodges, 1977

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mid 19th century
oil on panel
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
Framed H: 20 x W: 18 in. (50.8 x 45.72 cm)
  • USA (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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