Marcus Stone, The Lost Bird, 1883_ISANG Collection

- Born in London, Marcus Stone was trained by his father Frank Stone and began to exhibit at the Royal Academy before he was eighteen. A few years later he illustrated books by Charles Dickens and other writers who were friends of his family. Stone later specialised in themes of romantic tribulation titled Rejected, The First Love Letter and A Stolen Kiss. 
The Lost Bird is typical of this sentiment. A young girl wearing a black bonnet and a forlorn expression, that at first glance could be seen as the result of the loss of a feathered friend, also offers a less superficial reading if you take into account that the release of a bird in seventh century Dutch painting signified the loss of virginity of its owner. Though this symbolism cannot be substantiated as the artist’s intention, with symbolism ever present in the works of the Pre–Raphaelites over the same period, it cannot it be ruled out. The egg left in the cage, in many ways an unnecessary detail, certainly supports this reading of the painting.