Thomas Hovenden, Study for “Bringing Home the Bride"

Graphite on paper
Credit Line
Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of Mr. Stiles Tuttle Colwill, 2018
12 in. x 9 in.

Thomas Hovenden’s Bringing Home the Bride was as a thematic companion to his popular painting Breaking Home Ties, which centered around a son saying goodbye to his family before leaving their farm to find work. Instead of showing a farewell, Bringing Home the Bride depicted a welcome as a newly married couple enters the groom’s family home for the first time. The bride admires the comfortable Victorian interior as her new mother-in-law removes her coat and the rest of the family looks on. 

In this drawing, the figure’s dress identifies her as the sister of the groom. In the final painting she is whispering into her brother’s ear as she appraises his bride. Here, however, she rests her right hand on the outline of his shoulder. 

This work was lauded for its portrayal of “every-day folk” and a universally significant human life experience. Bringing Home the Bride was exhibited alongside Breaking Home Ties at the Chicago Columbian Exposition in 1893.


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