The Friend in Need
Image A: Image appears in Illustrated London News, 23 April 1859, p. 400.
Image B: indistinctly signed and dated 'Solomon ....' (lower left) and inscribed 'R. Solomon/50 Upper Charlotte St./W.'(on an old label on the reverse).
When exhibited at the Royal Academy this painting bore the following quotation from Shakespeare's Measure for Measure:
'Man, proud man,
Drest in a little brief authority,
Most ignorant of what he's most assur'd,
His glassy essence, like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven,
As make the angels weep.'
Image B: 38¼ x 31¼ in. (97 x 79.5 cm.)
Image A: Engraving Print
Image B: Oil on Canvas, arched top.
Image B: Private Collection
Image B: Christie's Sale 5760 -- Victorian Pictures, 14 March 1997
Image B: London, Royal Academy, 1856, no. 511.
Illustrated London News, 23 April 1859, p. 400
"Miss Soloman, [sic] who delights to point a wholesome moral, or some generous humanizing sentiment through the medium of her art, has here a very telling subject, which she has most successfully dealt with. We all know the terrors of the parish beadle, a functionary whom the poet probably had more particularly in his eye when he wrote the memorable words—“Dressed in a little brief authority, he plays such apish and fantastic tricks before high Heaven as make the angels weep.” The poor and houseless tremble at his approach; the widow and orphan flee before his scowl, for his eye is as insensible to pity as his gold lace collar and hatband, and poverty is a sin which, in his opinion, nothing can palliate. In the present case, however, an amiable lady appears about to mediate between the tyrant and his victims—“a friend in need,” whose good offices, let us hope, will not be unsuccessful. Miss Soloman has thrown a great deal of character into this spirited little picture, which forms part of Mr. Fiston’s collection, now exhibiting at the City Gallery, in Change alley."