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In keeping with Monique’s focus on antique art prints, today we’re looking at a scene from the story “Who Killed Cock Robin?”  Cock Robin is a nursery rhyme, published for years in books deemed socially accepted for children.  I suppose that’s a sign of cultural changes.  Any modern publisher printing it for a children’s book would likely be inundated with lawsuits from outraged parents.

If you’re not familiar with the story, it begins with the Sparrow, who killed Cock Robin, admitting to his crime:

Who killed Cock Robin?
I, said the Sparrow,
with my bow and arrow,
I killed Cock Robin.

The poem runs in similar vein defining who saw him die, who caught his blood…  see what I mean about children?  For better or worse, we live in much more sensitive times.  To top it off, some versions include hanging the sparrow as a murderer.  Beetle volunteered to make the shroud “with my thread and needle.”  Owl’s job was to  dig the grave with his pick and shovel.

Taking a closer look at the print above, “The Owl, The Beetle, and Cock Robin”, it’s beautiful art, with a soft pastel coloring.  At first glance it’s pretty accurate.  Beetle in the background sewing the shroud with his spool of thread on the ground.  And poor Robin obviously passed on, laying on his back, feet up in the air.  Owl gets the foreground, digging with his shovel.

It breaks down a little when you look at Owl’s tools.  He’s using a shovel, and to his side is… another shovel?  Wait, wasn’t he supposed to be using a pick and a shovel?  I bring that up for the fun of it, but honestly, it’s a lovely painting.  Original art print from the 1870’s.  I’m a fan of the anthropomorphic style.  Making the animals look very lifelike/realistic, yet acting in a fantastical fashion.  Brings out a sense of whimsy… even if the nursery rhyme is a bit morbid.