London, August 19, 1884
The opening page of this letter introduces two motifs Parrish will continue to use in his correspondence with Henry Bancroft. The first is an artist seated on an oversized bench beginning to paint on the billboard also seen on this page. The artist holds his palette in his left hand and rests his paint brush against a maulstick, a stick used by painters as a steadying rest for their hand while working. The other motif is caricatured African children and their activities. Notice that the animal heading for the boy on the bicycle is a smiling pig.
The text of this letter tells of the bicycle Stephen Parrish rented for his son’s use and the various bike trips Maxfield took by himself or with his father’s friend, the artist Joseph Pennell. The other half of the sheet is taken over by a whimsical vignette of a musical performance in a theater and the rude behavior of one of the men in the audience. The last images of this letter are more absurd images of musicians. Interestingly Parrish’s images of wind instruments indicate the sound being pushed from their equipment.
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