The scene depicts a couple of youngsters sitting on a typically English Regency sofa in black lacquered and gilded wood dating 1820 circa.
The young woman – who is wearing a candid imperial-styled dress, tied right below her breasts by a blue bow, as well as a coral necklace – is depicted as she contemplates a flower. The young man is instead wearing an elegant apparel and a light blue tailcoat, as he is sitting on the opposite side of the sofa – dreamily observing her future bride.
The composition, executed by Adelaide Claxton with extreme dexterity and attention for the detail, is set in a dwelling of the upper English society of the 19th Century and is characterized by a remarkably ironic touch.
Adelaide and her sister Florence were raised in a humble setting, and chose the artistic career following the footsteps of the father Marshall Claxton, who himself was a painter.
The two sisters often worked together, but Florence’s wedding and the consequent withdrawal from the artistic world during the same year in which this composition was painted, prompted Adelaide to engage in highly ambitious works.
Courting is one of the first works painted entirely by Adelaide, whom herself got married in 1874.
The painter exhibited at both the Royal Academy and the Suffolk Street Gallery in London. Her sharp and intelligent interpretation of society that is clearly reflected in her works, testifies her ability to sagaciously predict the rise of modern feminism.