varnishing-day love


from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A day before the opening of a picture exhibition on which exhibitors have the privilege of retouching or varnishing their pictures after they have been placed on the walls.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • “Will you take Annette and me to the varnishing-day reception?”

    Strong as Death

  • Miss Snell, who rustled about in stiff black silk and bugles, seemed quite oblivious to her friend's want of taste; she was all excitement, for her pastel portrait -- by some hideous mistake -- had been accepted and hung in one of the exhibitions, and the girls went together on varnishing-day to see it.

    Different Girls

  • It was not that he did not long for the tritest word of comment from the oracle before which he had chosen to lay the fruit of his labors; indeed, he was so conscious of his desire to know this opinion, not over clever as he believed it, that he ran away on the evening of varnishing-day.

    A Daughter of To-Day

  • This was on the occasion of varnishing-day at the _salon_ of native painters -- Russians and Poles; where were exhibited works by men _hors concours_, together with those of advanced students: both classes being required to pass an incorruptible committee of twelve, who spared neither veteran nor tyro.

    The Genius

  • When, in reality, any one who saw me at the exhibition on varnishing-day ....

    The Glimpses of the Moon

  • On varnishing-day Mr. Reid challenged Mr. Dicksee to give a reason for this disgraceful hanging; he defied him to say that he thought the pictures underneath were better pictures; and it is as impossible for me as it was for Mr. Dicksee to deny that Mr. Reid's picture is the best picture in Room 6.

    Modern Painting

  • She assured him that she would try to do it as soon as her husband should go to Ronces; but that it would be impossible before the varnishing-day reception, which would take place the following Saturday.

    Strong as Death

  • "Will you take Annette and me to the varnishing-day reception?"

    Strong as Death


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  • Art galleries have a flattering way

    Of persuading rich folk to pay:

    Allow them to flirt

    With painterly dirt

    And sip champagne on varnishing-day.

    My wife, a painter, advises me that to those in the trade any mention of varnishing-day brings to mind tales of JMW Turner. The idea was for the artists to pretend to do a little work while the wealthy visitors pretended to a degree of familiarity, but Turner would sometimes completely repaint the canvas.

    Turner was not inclined to conform:

    A dab as a token was the norm

    But on varnishing-day

    He showed up to play

    And drenched the canvas like a storm.

    May 21, 2014