By the late nineteenth century, travel was an integral component of society life for both men and women. It was also an opportunity for displays of lavish wealth, and James-Jacques-Joseph Tissot’s print, relating to a painting of the same title, and the second in his set of three “social conversation pictures,” illustrates this trend. Treated in a light operatic manner, this romantic triangle, composed of two women and a gentleman, takes place on a ship deck set against the background of a grand harbor. His protagonists’ psychological states are revealed not only in their facial expressions, which suggest highly controlled competition, but also in their unbalanced positions, which make their emotional drama palpable.
Print, "The Gallery of H.M.S. Calcutta (Souvenir of a Ball on Shipboard)", 1876. Gift of Edmond C. Bonaventure. 1951-13-4.