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This group portrait of the banker and merchant, George Bridges, with his wife Mary and their eight children, is one of the largest portraits ever produced by Constable. The group is shown in what was probably the drawing-room of Lawford Place, Essex, which Bridges had built about 1790. Lawford church can be seen through the window. In 1912 D S MacColl, a former Tate Director, reported that, ‘Constable showed an admiration for one of his sitters, the lady at the spinet or early pianoforte, and that his visits were in consequence discouraged’.

May 2007