<span class="nem">Studies for</span> Idle Fears
  • Sir Edward John Poynter
  • Paris 1836 - 1919 London
  • Studies for Idle Fears, 1893
  • Black chalk, partly heightened with white,
    on pink prepared paper,
  • the artist’s dry stamp lower right (Lugt 874)
  • 358 × 265 mm
Private collection Great Britain

The composition Idle Fears is a good example of English taste at the end of the nineteenth century. Such genre scenes, embedded in an atmosphere of luxurious antiquity, corresponded precisely to upper-class fashion, which Poynter and Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1912) were magnificently able to serve.

Poynter first showed the painting in 1894 at the Royal Academy in London, and then two years later at an international exhibition in Berlin, earning great acclaim on both occasions. The work depicts a frightened girl in ancient Rome, who is being comforted by her nursemaid or mother and persuaded to take a bath. Poynter carefully prepared the subject with many drawings and oil studies, but due to the prudishness of Victorian morals had to accept a boy as his nude model, such work being forbidden to girls.