T01896 A Family Group in a Garden c. 1754
Watercolour and gouache 392×357 (15 7/16×14 1/16), within a black watercolour border probably added by a later hand, on hand-made laid paper 430×396 (16 15/16×15 9/16); watermark ‘IV’
Bequeathed by Alan Evans to the National Gallery 1974; transferred to the Tate Gallery 1974
PROVENANCE ...; Alan Evans by 1974
LITERATURE Aileen Ribeiro, A Visual History of Costume: The Eighteenth Century, 1983, p.68, no.70, repr. p.69
This reputedly entered Alan Evans's collection as by Gainsborough, and was later attributed by Alan Evans to Gravelot; while certainly not Gainsborough's work, it seems unlike Gravelot's. The handling of the figures, the informality of the group and its Rococo setting suggest that the artist must have been familiar with the work of Hayman and of other ar tists in the circle which frequented Slaughter's Coffee House in St Martin's Lane; but his identity is elusive. The work has great charm, yet some unevenness in the handling suggests that it is not by one of the most accomplished artists of that circle; for instance, the debonair yet wholly relaxed elegance of the man's pose and the sensitivity of his portrait are not matched in the figures of his wife and children, and the staginess of the leafy foreground is oddly at variance with the informality of the group. Neither the family nor the setting has been identified.
The dating of c. 1754 is that suggested by Dr Aileen Ribeiro from the details of costume.
Elizabeth Einberg and Judy Egerton, The Age of Hogarth: British Painters Born 1675-1709, Tate Gallery Collections, II, London 1988