Maid Striking Gong


These sorts of gongs were used in upper class households as waking devices, to summon domestic help or announce dinner was ready. There’re some nice ones on ebay for I don’t have a use for one now I make all my own appalling camel-dung-like meals. When my mum was alive she’d cook my meals and press a button in the kitchen. An infra-red door bell ding-donged in my bedroom to announce food was ready.


When I’m out running I sometimes listen to "Bohemian Rhapsody". At the end, after “Anyway the wind blows” Roger Taylor strikes a massive gong. If there’s no-one around my arms swing a massive pretend gong (I also do a bit air boxing when listening to the Rocky theme song The Eye Of The Tiger.) The gong struck on Bohemian Rhapsody is a “tam tam” type which was used to clear the way for important officials and processions, a bit like a police siren today.


All Rank films start following a gong struck twice.


Anyway, this maid in this painting is hitting a gong. I can’t claim it was spurred by sight of someone in a maid’s outfit. I was watching a mini-series called 20,000 Streets Under The Sky and, as you can see from the first photo, there’s a scene where a maid strikes a gong to announce food is being served. I thought it would make a nice little painting so here it is.


As a bookish geek I used to head down to Stalybridge Library ever Saturday morning.  I assume the library must have reached its 100th birthday as all the librarians were dressed in Victorian attire, two being in maid’s outfits. There was a hugely-proportioned lady who's size must have been beyond the reach of the fancy dress shop's wardrobe. I remember she was wearing a massive black nun’s habit with a white veil and, with my poor eye sight, looked like a moving snow-capped mountain.