Collection Online
A Salvation Army shelter
oil on canvas
61.6 × 97.0 cm
inscribed in brown paint l.r.: E. Borrough Johnson. / 1891.
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, l892
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

Purchased from the artist, on the advice of Hubert Herkomer, for the NGV, 1892.

Exhibited: Exhibition of Works by Prof. Herkomer, R.A. and his pupils, Fine Art Society, London, 1892, no. 161; Victorian Social Conscience, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1976, no. 38; The First Fifty Years: Nineteenth Century British Art from the Gallery Archives, NGV, Melbourne, 1992; Hidden Treasures, David Jones’ Gallery, Sydney, 1992.

One of the most promising students training at Sir Hubert von Herkomer’s art school at Bushey, Hertfordshire, Ernest Borough Johnson exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1887 onwards. Writing about the artist in the Studio in 1898, the critic A. Lys Baldry described this painting as ‘an appallingly faithful representation of an incident in East End life, a ghastly statement of the mental and physical squalor which is the lot of so large a section of our London population’. Borough Johnson noted on the back of this canvas that his painting depicted ‘Private Davy’s Foundation’, which was established in May 1891.


The wide, flat, gilded direct to oak frame on E. Boroughs Johnson, A Salvation Army Shelter, 1891 poses a number of questions.
The painting was acquired in 1892, the year after it was painted, on the advice of Hubert von Herkomer.
There is no record to date of the maker of the frame but it could be Dolman, who made two frames on paintings by Herkomer in the NGV collection, both gilded direct to oak. Johnson was a student of Herkomer c.1886.
The very broad, flat form of the frame has precedents in French frames from around the 1860’s but also the forms and finishes espoused by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, referencing the Arts and Crafts movement.
Johnson exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy which may suggest we need to consider this a Royal Academy frame.

Wide, flat frames like this appear in Melbourne and Sydney, from the late 1880’s to late 1890’s. Consider the frames on Roberts The Sunny South (1887) Louriero Spring (1891) Roberts Shearing the Rams (1888-90) Streeton The Purple Noon’s Transparent Might (1895), Davies Moonrise (1898) or Longstaff Gippsland Sunday Night (1898). They appear on paintings on display in contemporary photographs of the Victorian Artists Society, Art Gallery of New South Wales, and National Gallery of Victoria, and were more prevalent than the extant examples would suggest.
Though this frame did not appear in the NGV until 1892 it could nevertheless be regarded as a reference point for local frame makers.

An almost identical frame form is integrated into the painted surface of Howard Hodgkin Night and Day,1997-99.

Unknown - 19th century

Oak and gold leaf


good original condition


Location of stamp
Reverse of canvas
Ink stamp
More Information
National Portrait Gallery