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Birdcage Collection

"The Birdcage: A Timeless Symbol of Freedom and Captivity" Throughout history, the birdcage has served as a powerful symbol, representing both freedom and captivity

Background imageBirdcage Collection: WWI: CARRIER PIGEONS. British motorcyclists taking carrier pigeons to front line

WWI: CARRIER PIGEONS. British motorcyclists taking carrier pigeons to front line trenches during World War I. Photograph, c1916

Background imageBirdcage Collection: The Cottage Window by Harold Harvey

The Cottage Window by Harold Harvey (1874-1941), one of the Newlyn School of Painters, showing a woman feeding a small bird in a cage by a cottage window. Date: 1919

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Happy Families Playing Cards - Mr Jack Tar the Sailor

Happy Families Playing Cards - Mr Jack Tar the Sailor
Happy Families Playing Cards Mr Jack Tar the Sailor. late 19th century

Background imageBirdcage Collection: The Graham Children, 1742 (oil on canvas)

The Graham Children, 1742 (oil on canvas)
BAL5539 The Graham Children, 1742 (oil on canvas) by Hogarth, William (1697-1764); 160.5x181 cm; National Gallery, London, UK; English, out of copyright

Background imageBirdcage Collection: The Movings, 1822. Creator: Louis Leopold Boilly

The Movings, 1822. Creator: Louis Leopold Boilly
The Movings, 1822

Background imageBirdcage Collection: 'The Foster Sisters', by John Bostock, in the Manchester Exhibition, 1865. Creator: W Thomas

"The Foster Sisters", by John Bostock, in the Manchester Exhibition, 1865. Creator: W Thomas
"The Foster Sisters", by John Bostock, in the Manchester Exhibition, 1865. Engraving of a painting. What a contrast there is between these two maidens, though of the same age

Background imageBirdcage Collection: A line of people bringing boxes and crates to a porter. He says, Of course, with pleasure

A line of people bringing boxes and crates to a porter. He says, Of course, with pleasure
FLO4691465 A line of people bringing boxes and crates to a porter. He says, Of course, with pleasure. He thinks, These animals take me for a conveyor belt

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Flowers and Goldfish, 18th century. Creator: So Shizan

Flowers and Goldfish, 18th century. Creator: So Shizan
Flowers and Goldfish, 18th century. Edo period

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Anne, Duchess of Brittany, Queen of France, 1477-1514. Anne of Brittany, Queen of France

Anne, Duchess of Brittany, Queen of France, 1477-1514. Anne of Brittany, Queen of France
FLO4570815 Anne, Duchess of Brittany, Queen of France, 1477-1514. Anne of Brittany, Queen of France. In mourning clothes with pet dog and parakeet in a birdcage

Background imageBirdcage Collection: La Minerve (Minerva) cartoon of French air vessel, early 19th century (engraving)

La Minerve (Minerva) cartoon of French air vessel, early 19th century (engraving)
XTD75524 La Minerve (Minerva) cartoon of French air vessel, early 19th century (engraving); Private Collection; out of copyright

Background imageBirdcage Collection: 'Scene from Tennyson's Dora'', by A. H. Burr, 1864. Creator: W Thomas

"Scene from Tennyson's Dora'", by A. H. Burr, 1864. Creator: W Thomas
"Scene from Tennyson's Dora'", by A. H. Burr, 1864. Engraving of a painting. The...reconciliation scene...We remember nothing finer in the whole exhibition than that rugged head of

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Portrait of young girl with birdcage, c18th century. Creator: Hugues Taraval

Portrait of young girl with birdcage, c18th century. Creator: Hugues Taraval
Portrait of young girl with birdcage, c18th century

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Hens, Ducks and a Turkey Cock, 1614-1652. Creator: Adriaen van Utrecht

Hens, Ducks and a Turkey Cock, 1614-1652. Creator: Adriaen van Utrecht
Hens, Ducks and a Turkey Cock, 1614-1652

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Interior with mother and daughter by window, 1853. Creator: Ludvig August Smith

Interior with mother and daughter by window, 1853. Creator: Ludvig August Smith
Interior with mother and daughter by window, 1853

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Walking and Evening Dress, between circa 1695 and circa 1702. Creator: Nicolas Bonnart

Walking and Evening Dress, between circa 1695 and circa 1702. Creator: Nicolas Bonnart
Walking and Evening Dress, between circa 1695 and circa 1702

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Bird in a cage, Late 19th century. Creator: Unknown

Bird in a cage, Late 19th century. Creator: Unknown
Bird in a cage, Late 19th century

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Je ne loue pas aux gens qui ont des enfants!, 1847. Creator: Honore Daumier

Je ne loue pas aux gens qui ont des enfants!, 1847. Creator: Honore Daumier
Je ne loue pas aux gens qui ont des enfants!, 1847. I don't rent to people with children! An elderly landlady, surrounded by pets

Background imageBirdcage Collection: 8 heures du matin, 1839. Creator: Honore Daumier

8 heures du matin, 1839. Creator: Honore Daumier
8 heures du matin, 1839. 8 o'clock in the morning. (Le menage) Le spectacle de la nature eleve l'ame! Mr. Coquelet, pour se delasser des soins du menage

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Je ne loue pas aux gens qui ont des enfants!... 1847. Creator: Honore Daumier

Je ne loue pas aux gens qui ont des enfants!... 1847. Creator: Honore Daumier
Je ne loue pas aux gens qui ont des enfants!... 1847. I don't rent to people with children! An elderly landlady, surrounded by pets

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Interior with mother and children, 1799-1856. Creator: Abraham Lion Zeelander

Interior with mother and children, 1799-1856. Creator: Abraham Lion Zeelander
Interior with mother and children, 1799-1856. Woman with sewing basket surrounded by domestic paraphernalia and half-completed tasks

Background imageBirdcage Collection: La Vieille à l'aiguille, 1876. Creator: Félicien Rops

La Vieille à l'aiguille, 1876. Creator: Félicien Rops
La Vieille a l'aiguille, 1876

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Fortune Teller with a Bird, between 1700 and 1725. Creator: Unknown

Fortune Teller with a Bird, between 1700 and 1725. Creator: Unknown
Fortune Teller with a Bird, between 1700 and 1725

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Butter trade in Ceylon, 1785-1786. Creator: Jan Brandes

Butter trade in Ceylon, 1785-1786. Creator: Jan Brandes
Butter trade in Ceylon, 1785-1786. Woman and butter seller. With explanatory inscription. Part of Jan Brandes sketchbook, dl. 1 (1808), p. 9

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Mother and son with a bird. Creator: Anna Geneviève Greuze

Mother and son with a bird. Creator: Anna Geneviève Greuze
Mother and son with a bird, Unknown date

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Birds, 1750s. Creator: Johan Pasch

Birds, 1750s. Creator: Johan Pasch
Birds, 1750s

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Girl with Bullfinch in a Cage, 1766. Creator: Per Krafft the Elder

Girl with Bullfinch in a Cage, 1766. Creator: Per Krafft the Elder
Girl with Bullfinch in a Cage, 1766

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Interior with a woman reading the newspaper, 1854-1892. Creator: Gerke Henkes

Interior with a woman reading the newspaper, 1854-1892. Creator: Gerke Henkes
Interior with a woman reading the newspaper, 1854-1892

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Becoming a Painter, 1825-1827. Creator: Jean-Baptiste Van Eycken

Becoming a Painter, 1825-1827. Creator: Jean-Baptiste Van Eycken
Becoming a Painter, 1825-1827. Woman wearing gold jewellery brings her son to be trained as a painter

Background imageBirdcage Collection: The Feast of Saint Nicholas, 1700-1899. Creator: Unknown

The Feast of Saint Nicholas, 1700-1899. Creator: Unknown
The Feast of Saint Nicholas, 1700-1899. A family at home on 5 December, the night celebrated in the Netherlands as the Feast of Saint Nicholas, or Sinterklaas

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Interior with Lace-Worker and a Visitor, 1650-1668. Creator: Gerritsz Quiringh van Brekelenkam

Interior with Lace-Worker and a Visitor, 1650-1668. Creator: Gerritsz Quiringh van Brekelenkam
Interior with Lace-Worker and a Visitor, 1650-1668. Other Title(s): Reading Aloud

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Interior with a Woman Feeding a Parrot, Known as ‘The Parrot Cage, c.1660-c.1670

Interior with a Woman Feeding a Parrot, Known as ‘The Parrot Cage, c.1660-c.1670. Creator: Jan Steen
Interior with a Woman Feeding a Parrot, Known as The Parrot Cage, c.1660-c.1670

Background imageBirdcage Collection: 'From Our Own Correspondent' - painted by W. Hemsley, 1856. Creator: Harvey Orrin Smith

"From Our Own Correspondent" - painted by W. Hemsley, 1856. Creator: Harvey Orrin Smith
"From Our Own Correspondent" - painted by W. Hemsley, 1856. Engraving of a painting in the Exhibition at the British Institution, ...suggested by the Crimean news

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Woman Watering a Plant, 1720-1771. Creator: Louis de Moni

Woman Watering a Plant, 1720-1771. Creator: Louis de Moni
Woman Watering a Plant, 1720-1771

Background imageBirdcage Collection: The Home of a Hunter, 1826. Creator: Henri Voordecker

The Home of a Hunter, 1826. Creator: Henri Voordecker
The Home of a Hunter, 1826

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Woman working in a courtyard, New Orleans, between 1920 and 1926. Creator: Arnold Genthe

Woman working in a courtyard, New Orleans, between 1920 and 1926. Creator: Arnold Genthe
Woman working in a courtyard, New Orleans, between 1920 and 1926

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Woman working in a courtyard, New Orleans, between 1920 and 1926. Creator: Arnold Genthe

Woman working in a courtyard, New Orleans, between 1920 and 1926. Creator: Arnold Genthe
Woman working in a courtyard, New Orleans, between 1920 and 1926

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Courtyard, New Orleans, between 1920 and 1926. Creator: Arnold Genthe

Courtyard, New Orleans, between 1920 and 1926. Creator: Arnold Genthe
Courtyard, New Orleans, between 1920 and 1926

Background imageBirdcage Collection: View from the Artist's Window, 1823-1827. Creator: Martinus Rorbye

View from the Artist's Window, 1823-1827. Creator: Martinus Rorbye
View from the Artist's Window, 1823-1827

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Est-ce que vous allez ouvrir la porte de la cage... 19th century. Creator: Honore Daumier

Est-ce que vous allez ouvrir la porte de la cage... 19th century. Creator: Honore Daumier
Est-ce que vous allez ouvrir la porte de la cage... 19th century. [Jester figure]: Are you going to open the door of the cage

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Mendel Levin Nathanson's Elder Daughters, Bella and Hanna; 1820. Creator: CW Eckersberg

Mendel Levin Nathanson's Elder Daughters, Bella and Hanna; 1820. Creator: CW Eckersberg
Mendel Levin Nathanson's Elder Daughters, Bella and Hanna, 1820

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Portrait présumé de Marie-Emilie Baudouin, fille du peintre, c.1758 — 1760

Portrait présumé de Marie-Emilie Baudouin, fille du peintre, c.1758 — 1760. Creator: Francois Boucher
Portrait presume de Marie-Emilie Baudouin, fille du peintre, c.1758 -- 1760. It is generally considered that the model of this portrait is Marie-Emilie Baudouin

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Portrait présumé de Marie-Emilie Baudouin, fille du peintre, c.1758 — 1760

Portrait présumé de Marie-Emilie Baudouin, fille du peintre, c.1758 — 1760. Creator: Francois Boucher
Portrait presume de Marie-Emilie Baudouin, fille du peintre, c.1758 -- 1760. It is generally considered that the model of this portrait is Marie-Emilie Baudouin

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Mon Caporal, je n'ai pu avons que ça, 1823. Creator: Emile Jean-Horace Vernet

Mon Caporal, je n'ai pu avons que ça, 1823. Creator: Emile Jean-Horace Vernet
Mon Caporal, je n'ai pu avons que ca, 1823

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Mon Caporal, Je n'ai pu avons que ça, 1823. Creator: Emile Jean-Horace Vernet

Mon Caporal, Je n'ai pu avons que ça, 1823. Creator: Emile Jean-Horace Vernet
Mon Caporal, Je n'ai pu avons que ca, 1823

Background imageBirdcage Collection: The Parrot and the Cabbies - An Incident at a Seaside Holiday Resort, 1891

The Parrot and the Cabbies - An Incident at a Seaside Holiday Resort, 1891. From "The Graphic. An Illustrated Weekly Newspaper", Volume 44. July to December, 1891

Background imageBirdcage Collection: A Family Party Taking an Airing, 1819. Creator: William Heath

A Family Party Taking an Airing, 1819. Creator: William Heath
A Family Party Taking an Airing, 1819. A hobby horse (a forerunner of the bicycle) adapted to carry a passenger (and her pets). The rider is teased by monkeys. Attributed to William Heath

Background imageBirdcage Collection: A Longing Look, 1890. Creator: Unknown

A Longing Look, 1890. Creator: Unknown
A Longing Look, 1890. From "The Graphic. An Illustrated Weekly Newspaper", Volume 41. January to June, 1890

Background imageBirdcage Collection: Child with birdcage, between 1910 and 1917. Creator: Harris & Ewing

Child with birdcage, between 1910 and 1917. Creator: Harris & Ewing. Child with birdcage, between 1910 and 1917
Child with birdcage, between 1910 and 1917



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"The Birdcage: A Timeless Symbol of Freedom and Captivity" Throughout history, the birdcage has served as a powerful symbol, representing both freedom and captivity. In times of war, such as during World War I, carrier pigeons were relied upon to deliver crucial messages from the front lines. British motorcyclists valiantly transported these feathered messengers in their cages, ensuring vital communication amidst chaos. In quieter moments, families found solace in playing cards like "Happy Families, " where Mr Jack Tar the Sailor was depicted alongside other beloved characters. These games brought joy and entertainment while reminding us of the sailors' longing for home beyond their confined naval lives. Artistic masterpieces have also immortalized the birdcage's significance. In William Hogarth's painting "The Graham Children, " a delicate cage hangs prominently in the background - an emblematic reminder that even within familial bliss, restrictions exist. Louis Leopold Boilly's work "The Movings" captures a bustling street scene with people carrying various possessions - including caged birds. This snapshot reflects society's fascination with capturing nature's beauty but raises questions about our responsibility towards these creatures' well-being. Beyond visual arts, performers like Belle Bennett captivated audiences on stage and screen with her talent and charisma. Yet behind her glamorous facade lay societal expectations that often confined women to certain roles or personas – metaphorical gilded cages they had to navigate skillfully. Music too has embraced this motif; Mozart's opera "The Magic Flute" features Papageno trapped inside a magical birdcage until he finds true love – his key to liberation from isolation and despair. Japanese artist So Shizan captured nature's harmony by combining flowers and goldfish in his artwork. The inclusion of fish swimming freely juxtaposed against captive birds reminds us of life’s contrasting experiences – some soaring high while others remain grounded.