William Quiller ORCHARDSON<br/>
<em>The first cloud</em> 1887 <!-- (recto) --><br />

oil on canvas<br />
134.8 x 193.7 cm<br />
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne<br />
Purchased, 1887<br />
p.312.1-1<br />


The first cloud

William Quiller ORCHARDSON

Behind the canvas

William Quiller ORCHARDSON
The first cloud 1887

oil on canvas
134.8 × 193.7 cm
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1887
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
19th Century European Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International
About this work

Exhibited at the Royal Academy in London in 1887, The first cloud is one of William Quiller Orchardson’s finest commentaries on the social life and manners of his time. Orchardson observes a couple who have just returned from an evening out (they are elegantly attired, but there is no fire in the grate). The evening has turned sour, however, the implication being that this cloud is but the first in a storm that threatens to engulf their marriage.

Subjects (general)
Human Figures Interiors Relationships and Interactions
Subjects (specific)
conflict (general sense) couples departures discord domesticity evening dress (concept) marriage (social construct) scenes (depictions)
Purchased from the artist by Thomas Agnew & Sons (dealer), London, 27 April 1887, stock no. 4465; from where purchased, on the advice of Edward Langton, for the NGV, 2 May 1887.
Original, maker unknown


Further reading