The First Piano Lesson by Charles West Cope

In this painting motherhood is presented in idealised form – the mother and baby are pristine and sit at a piano, a marker of status within the domestic sphere and a key indication of middle-class standing.


Oil on canvas
34 x 34.5 cm
Art Fund grant:
£4,215 ( Total: £11,250)
Acquired in:

The place of middle-class children within the home and attitudes of parents towards them is under-researched and a subject that the Geffrye hopes to open up with a major exhibition in the future. The painting modifies the stereotypical view that Victorian children were to be seen and not heard. Children have been under-represented in the Geffrye Museum’s collection of Victorian paintings.


JS Maas & Co, London; Sir David Scott, 1986; Sotheby's, 2008.

Venue details

The Geffrye Museum of the Home 136 Kingsland Road, Hoxton, London London E2 8EA 020 7739 9893

Entry details

50% off with National Art Pass

The museum is closed to the public for a major, transformational development project. It will reopen in winter 2019.
During closure, the restored almshouse will remain open for tours and a full programme of events will be run in the front gardens.