Chester Earles / Australia 1821–1905 / Interior with figures 1872 / Oil on canvas on board / 61 x 73.5cm / Gift of Joseph Brown Gallery 1997 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Chester Earles
Interior with figures 1872

Not Currently on Display

Interior with figures is the most notable example of Earles’s work in an Australian public collection. It is a courtship picture, perhaps even a proposal, and Earles invites us to speculate on the social circumstances surrounding the scene and the importance of its eventual outcome.

The fine detail and highly-worked surface of this work attest to Earles’s continuing affiliation with the art of miniaturists, with its emphasis on observation of significant details of feature and dress, and its original role as a memento.

Chester Earles was born in 1821 in London and emigrated to Victoria in early 1864. Most of his works were portraits but he also painted some narrative and religious paintings.

Discussion Questions

Consider the wedding rituals of different cultures. What do they have in common? How have weddings changed and evolved in contemporary society?

Classroom Activities

Interior with figures looks like a still from a movie. Such a realistic depiction of clothing and an interior from 1872 enables viewers to imagine wearing those clothes and being in the grand room. Storyboard a scene for a film based on Earles’s characters in this painting.