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Making a Train

Seymour Joseph Guy, American (born England), 1824 - 1910

Made in United States, North and Central America


Oil on canvas

18 1/8 x 24 1/8 inches (46 x 61.3 cm)

Curatorial Department:
American Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
The George W. Elkins Collection, 1924

Social Tags

adolescence [x]   attic [x]   bedroom [x]   child [x]   childhood [x]   dresses [x]   garret [x]   make-believe [x]   nightgown [x]   play-acting [x]   playing [x]   puberty [x]   quilts [x]   role-playing [x]   striped wallpaper [x]   wallpaper [x]  

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Alone in an attic, a little girl dreams of turning her everyday clothing into something grown-up and magnificent—perhaps a ball gown or wedding dress. Seymour Guy's daughter Anna was likely the model for this painting. The warm, soft glow of an oil lamp evokes the innocence of her childhood. At the same time, shadows fall across her torso to hint at her imminent transformation into a young woman, and a doll lies abandoned in the cabinet to her right to suggest that soon such playthings will be forgotten. After the Civil War (1861-65), nostalgic visions of childhood like this one gained enormous popularity.