William Mulready, Pacifism in art, Genre painting, British painting, Napoleonic period, 19th century


Arts and Humanities


William Mulready (1786-1863) established his reputation in early nineteenth-century England with charming scenes of everyday life. One of the earliest of these, Old Kaspar, R.A. 1807, has only recently reappeared. A close investigation of the subject discloses that this apparently simple family scene is anything but simple. In fact, Old Kaspar presented a sophisticated antiwar theme to the English public in the midst of the Napoleonic wars. Calling upon Robert Southey's poetry, William Godwin's radical libertarian philosophy, recent British history, and the contemporary antiwar political sensibility of the Whigs, Mulready conveyed a poignant pacifist message through this small genre painting

Published in

The Art Bulletin 72, no. 1 (March 1990): 106

Publication status

Published; SherpaRomeo status: White



DOI of published version