Merry Christmas in the Baron's Hall, 1838
Oil on canvas,
183 x 366 cm
This romanticised image of Christmas festivities is based on a passage from Walter Scott’s poem Marmion (1808). Maclise composes the crowded narrative painting in his usual manner, with a calm central focus surrounded by a swirling mass of activity and action. He displays his artistic virtuosity and range by including a vast array of figures with differing gestures, facial expressions and textiles, all engaged in a variety of activities around the hall. As a scene of luxury and merriment it can be compared to Dutch and Flemish seventeenth century court scenes.