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The Gilded Cage
The Gilded Cage

Image credit: De Morgan Collection

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An overriding theme in Evelyn’s work was women’s suffrage, and this can best be illustrated by this iconic painting.

In the painting a young woman, dressed in sumptuous gold robes, looks wistfully at revellers outside, jewels and books lay discarded, on the floor by her feet. Her entrapment in a patriarchal society which dictated her confinement in the domestic sphere is echoed by the golden caged canary in the top right of the painting.

However, the morose look on the face of the older gentleman suggests that he too is not happy with this scenario. Perhaps he, in his turn, bemoans the folly of youth, which leads to the rejection of the knowledge and riches which he has to offer the young woman.

The inscriptions on the spines of the books on the shelf are in Italian and read 'Poesia', 'Musica', 'Arte', 'Mors – Trattato della Medicin[a]' (poetry, music, art, death – a treaty on medicine).

The Gilded Cage


probably 1901–1902


oil on canvas


H 910 x W 108.7 cm

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De Morgan Collection


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