Artists Illustrating Boys' Fashions: Laslett J. Pott (England, 1837-98)

Figure 1.--This is a characteristically sentimental illustration of a famous scene in Shakespeare's play, 'King John', in which we see the boy Prince Arthur, a claimant to the English throne, pleading with Hubert, a servant of King John, who has been ordered to blind the boy with a red hot iron and thus make him incapable of rule. The boy, about 9-10 years of age in the play (but historically a teenager). We see the boy pleading with Hubert and actually kissing him in an affectionate attempt to dissuade him from his terrible mission. Notice the brazier for heating the red hot iron in the foreground of the picture with Hubert holding the cooling iron in his hand. The costuming is of course medieval. King John reigned at the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th centuries. Prince Arthur pleads with such eloquence to his would-be executioner that Hubert spares the lad and, temporarily, keeps his mercy secret, reporting falsely to the king that the boy is dead. Afterwards Prince Arthur actually does die, falling from a castle battlement in an attempt to escape his prison. Laslett J. Pott was a Victorian painter of historical and literary scenes (1837-1898) who came from Newark, Nottinghamshire, and specialized in 16th-18th-century subjects. The engraving shown here is by D. J. Desuchez (1873) and based on a painting by Pott.

Laslett John Pott was born in Newark, Nottinghamshire (1837). He was raised there. We have been unable to find any biographical information, which is strange for an artist of any importance. Pott was a Victorian artist who specialized in emotive historical subjects from 16-18th century English literary and historical scenes. He also painted Napoleonic era scenes which was closer in time were fresh in English minds. Some of his most famous are' Mary Queen of Scots on Her Way to Her Execution' and 'Charles I After His Trial'. These images are useful historical depictions, but did not often feature children which we like to use to illustrate our children were involved in hitorical events. One charming painting does incluse a child--'The Young Royalist'. Pott also depicted some Shakesperian scenes. Here one of the best known is thectension-filled 'Prince Arthur and Hubert' (1873-76) (figure 1). We get the impression that he is not one of the more respected English artists. Many major collections do not include one of his works. we rather like his work because his pauntings often beautifully tell a compeling story.


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Created: 1:05 AM 9/7/2011
Last updated: 1:05 AM 9/7/2011