10 February 2016

Edward Bird’s The Departure for London comes to Bristol

Since 1935 Bristol’s holdings of drawings and paintings by Edward Bird (1772 – 1819) have included a preparatory sketch for his acclaimed painting ‘The Departure for London’, first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1815. 


The sensitive sketch shows a family in their home preparing for their son's imminent departure. A scene that may remind the viewer of an episode in a Jane Austen novel: two women are packing the young man’s belongings while the elderly father bids farewell to his son, who is leaving to begin his professional life in the capital. A young boy announces the arrival of the coach - seen through a window in the background - with eager gestures.