The subject of the present picture is the dialogue between the court jester Touchstone and the shepherd Corin in the Forest of Arden ( As You Like It, Act III, scene 2). The work of William Shakespeare ‘As You Like It’ was a popular literary source in Pre-Raphaelite circles, inspiring such artists as John Everett Millais, Walter Howell Deverell and Arthur Hughes. The present picture is comparable in style to the work of Edward W. Rainford and Henry Stacy Marks (1829-1898). Marks’ picture Hamlet, Horatio and Osric, shown at the National Institution in 1854 makes a good comparison, as does Rainford’s Hotspur and the Courtier (Forbes Magazine Collection; see Shakespeare in Western Art, exhibition circulated in Japan by the Tokyo Shimbun, 1992-3, no. 70, reproduced in catalogue), an illustration to Henry IV, Part 1 which was exhibited at the British Institution in 1852.
The painting is extremely well painted with a great attention to detail such as the ivy climbing the trees or the face on the jesters marotte. This is a rare opportunity to acquire a work by a strong follower of the Pre-Raphaelites.
Madot was born in London, his French father taught languages. He enrolled as a student at the Royal Academy Schools and from the little we know of the artist worked chiefly as an illustrator for various editions such as The Art Journal. He sent five pictures to the Royal Academy and other works to the Royal Society of British Artists and the British Institute between the years 1852 and 1862.
It seems Madot was fascinated with the plays of Shakespeare and most his works were inspired by them. One of his paintings was purchased by William Gladstone, a great supporter of the Pre-Raphaelite movement and he acquired many of their pictures.
Sadly this highly talented artist was struck with consumption and died while still in his twenties.