The Fortune Teller by Henry O'Neil


Henry O'Neil (British, 1817 - 1880) was a historical genre painter and minor Victorian writer. He was a member of The Clique, a group of artists in the 1840s who, like the later Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, met regularly to discuss and criticize one another's works. The other members of The Clique were Augustus Egg, Alfred Elmore, Richard Dadd, William Powell Frith, John Phillip, Edward Matthew Ward.

In July, 1865, O'Neil accompanied the Great Eastern on her voyage to lay the cable of the Atlantic telegraph, hoping to find on board a subject suitable for a picture: the unfortunate breaking of the cable, however, prevented the accomplishment of the artist’s intention.  During the voyage he edited and illustrated five issues of the shipboard newsletter The Atlantic Telegraph, and on his return to England he published an account of the expedition in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine. In 1866 he again accompanied the cable expedition, producing five more publications which were printed on board, and later wrote a humorous account of the voyage for the magazine London Society.

28 x 36 inches

Oil on canvas