A Life Well Spent: Charles West Cope
Not naturally given to all-things Victorian, this painting by Charles West Cope nonetheless delights me.
First, Cope has masterfully captured the atmosphere of a contented mother, calmly, yet busily caring for her four children. (Don't miss the baby in the basket on the right.) Mama's happily knitting away on a pair of socks while listening to her son recite his lesson. The scissors she's using to hold the book open bear the stamp of authenticity. (I'm forever placing stray objects to hold open the book I am reading aloud to my children so my hands can be free to knit.) I like to think the container of cloths about to spill on the floor are laundry she's finally gotten around to folding. And don't you love how the daughter in the foreground is able to read, oblivious to everything else that is going on around her? It looks like she might have discarded her lesson or even a bit of her own knitting, seeing the slate and the stray yarn poking out from under her dress.This painting just rings so true to me.
And then, there's that beautiful title: "A Life Well Spent." Yes, indeed.