Maude Goodman (Mrs Scanes, worked 1870-early 1900s)

'She depicts a world with which few would quarrel. Her maids coquet with the harmless vanity of birds plyming themselves. Her men are spendthrifts only of their time. Her music is so enchanting that to it we, as it re-echoes in our hearts, lend a willing ear. [if her art] is neither quite honest nor quite convincing, it has, none the less, the power to influence us. Especially is this the case in her pictures of Mother Love.'

The painter Maude Goodman was born in Manchester, left motherless after a few days, and reared by her father and a kindly stepmother, who recognised and encouraged her artistic talents. Her father would not agree to her going either to the Royal Academy Schools or abroad to Paris, but she was eventually allowed to go to the South Kensington Schools, where she had at least some instruction from Edward J Poynter. She also had tuition from a Spanish painter visiting London.

In a reversal of the usual course of events, she remained obscure until her marriage in 1882 to Arthur Scanes - she retained her maiden name for her paintings. In that year, she exhibited her first mother-and-baby picture at the Royal Academy (You Darling), and in the following year, she had 6 pictures at the Royal Academy. It was from about then that she began to settle in to the pictures of mother-and-baby, children and idealised domestic harmony which made her famous. Among her bet known works, still to be found as prints and engravings, are Hush, or Watching the Tournament, Un Chant d'Amour, Me Loves 'Oo, And Lived Happily Ever After, When the Heart is Young, and Want to See the Wheels Go Round. These prints were serious money-spinners - one publisher made 10 000 from Want to See the Wheels go Round.

To the modern eye, Maude Goodman's paintings seem in the most cringe-makingly sentimental taste, the sort of thing that gave the Victorians a bad name. Doting mothers, children with yaplike dogs, fur animals on the floor, happy smiles all round - faugh! However, they are certainly technically very competent. Her style is consistent - the mothers tend to wear pale gowns rather than normal clothes, and have bunned curly hair, often with bonnets. Now and again the women's faces show a touch of Poynter. She also did book illustrations, though I have not come across any of these.

Other artists