“The Picture that Is Turned Toward the Wall”


"Far beyond the glamour of the city and its strife There's a quiet little homestead by the sea." But a family daughter ran away, and "There's a name that's never spoken, and a mother's heart is broken... And a picture that is turned toward the wall."


Written by Graham after seeing the play "Blue Jeans," in which a father turns his runaway daughter's picture toward the wall. (Why not take it down? Don't ask me.)

The song sold extremely well, but as so often happens, Graham saw little of the proceeds, and died a pauper in 1899.

He also produced a sequel, "Her Father Has Turned the Dear Picture Again." Which had all the success it deserved.

To set a new record for Completely Useless Information Included in the Ballad Index, some students of Sherlock Holmes claim that the woman whose picture is turned toward the wall is none other than Irene Adler, the heroine of "A Scandal in Bohemia." The latter story was published in 1891, with an internal date of 1888 though Sherlockians have demonstrated that this date is not possible. For what little I can glean of this theory, see William S. Baring-Gould, _The Annotated Sherlock Holmes_, Volume I, note 28 to "A Scandal in Bohemia" (p. 354 in the Wings Books edition). - RBW


  • Vernon Dalhart, "The Picture That Is Turned Toward the Wall" (Columbia 15030-D, 1925) (Edison 51607 [as Vernon Dalhart & Co.], 1925)


  1. Spaeth-ReadWeep, pp. 160-161, "The Picture That Is Turned Toward the Wall" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Geller-Famous, pp. 59-63, "The Picture That Is Turned Toward the Wall" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Gilbert, pp. 276-277, "The Picture That Is Turned Toward the Wall" (1 text)
  5. BI, SRW160


Author: Charles Graham
Earliest date: 1891 (copyright)