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The Peace Offering

Charles Haigh Wood
circa 1885

Charles Haigh Wood was one of the very few Bury-born artists to achieve national prominence, even though his work is largely forgotten today.

In 1910 he had a retrospective exhibition at Bury Art Museum. Now we would probably agree with the opinion expressed by the Bury Times exhibition reviewer, that “Mr Haigh Wood’s art suffers much from the tyranny of fashion”.

Fortunately, ‘The Peace Offering’ is free of that popular, but obvious and sentimental, prettiness which established his reputation in paintings such as ‘Answer Him Fair with Yea or Nay’ and almost guaranteed their quick sale.

Even in 1910 fashion had swung decidedly away from so obvious a narrative as we see here. There has been a tussle, the girl’s book has been ripped and her brother proffers an apple, the peace offering of the title. The children in the painting are very likely the artist’s own; the sulking little girl could well be his daughter, Vivienne, who went on to marry the poet TS Eliot.