With her wide eyes, ruddy cheeks and youthful complexion, the model in this painting gazes at us impassively, concealing the joys and sorrows of her austere life. She is dressed in a hard-wearing, brown outer garment with lining for warmth, and a cap made of the same coarse material. Although the painting is now in an oval mount dating from at least the late 19th century, the composition is rectangular and includes a great deal more of the lower portion of the figure and of the sea than can presently be seen. This watercolour reveals Manchester artist Reginald Barber’s affinity with the Newlyn School painters, who dedicated themselves to representing the life of fishing communities on the Cornish peninsula in South West England.


  • Title: The fisher girl
  • Creator: Reginald Barber
  • Date Created: 1886
  • Physical Dimensions: 66.2 x 50.4 cm image (sheet wrapped around wooden board); 87.5 x 72.5 x 5.0 cm frame
  • Provenance: Charles J Royle, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, Gift of Charles J Royle in 1886
  • Type: Watercolour
  • Rights: Gift of Charles J Royle 1886
  • External Link: https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/5762/
  • Medium: watercolour
  • Signature & Date: Signed and dated l.r., in monogram, "18 RB 86".
  • Artist Country: England

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