The picture hung on the wall in my parents’ living room. Now it hangs in mine in a less gaudy, more fitting frame. The print is dated 1902 and has no other markings but I believe it is from an old painting titled “A Friend in Need”.
I don’t know where my mother acquired it but I can guess why she loved the picture. Her father and grandfather were blacksmiths and her interest in dolls began at a young age when she hand stitched clothes for her small porcelain doll. Years later Mother accumulated an extensive doll collection.
The picture features a white-haired village blacksmith and a little girl with her doll and broken doll carriage. A road leads to a village where the girl’s story begins. The blacksmith’s tools and the large broken wheel tell of his work but the small wheel on the anvil reveals his heart. In the shop the fire burns and the old man has work waiting yet he puts it aside.
The little girl seeks out the one she trusts to help her.
I am poor and needy; Yet the Lord thinks upon me. (Psalm 40:17a)
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. (I John 5:14)
The old man is an example of how we should bear others’ burdens.
Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4)
We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. (Romans 15:1)
It is a sweet scene with a happy ending. On the other hand, what if the girl had no one to go to? What if there was no one to mend the wheels, big or small? What if there was no one who cared? That is the harsh reality for many today. They do not know there is One who cares. The blacksmith in this picture may also represent the Lord God. Numerous Bible verses remind us of His love and care, His mercy and grace.
Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. (Psalm 103:13,14)
The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. (Psalm 34:18)
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. I Peter 5:7)
How much does God care for you?
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
Do you recognize this painting? Do you know anything about it, especially the artist’s name?
What story would you write?
Does the picture encourage or inspire you?
Counting my blessings,
January 6, 2019 at 11:24 am
Did you ever find out the artist?
January 6, 2019 at 4:42 pm
Jessica ~ Unfortunately, no. It could be one of the Inexpensive offset lithos which were mass marketed by the Ullman Manufacturing Co NYC during the Victorian period. They were first to produce color art prints. Some people suggest the artist was Arthur J. Elsley whose work was used commercially as calendars, post cards, etc., many depicting children of those times. Nothing conclusive, sorry to say.