Henriette Browne (1829-1901)
'A Girl Writing'
Oil on canvas
Museum no. 1083-1886
The girl seated at a table and writing holds a banker's pen and has before her a bottle of ink and a sheet of blotting paper. She is apparently copying out a handwriting exercise from a book propped in front of her. At this time good handwriting was considered very important and educators were highly prescriptive about what constituted the correct form and method of writing. Students were given examples of good handwriting to copy, with horizontal lines to keep their writing straight, and repeated the exercise to improve their skills.
Also on the table are two apples and a handful of wild flowers. A goldfinch is perched beside the girl on the table edge, and another is in the opened cage on the wall behind her.