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Although principally a portrait miniaturist (see cabinet 2: The Portrait Miniature in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries), Richard Cosway also produced some larger-scale works in oil. This allegorical portrait was painted following the death of a young London linen draper, Broome Witts, in 1769. Witts is shown here in the role of Fortitude, introducing his sister Sarah in the guise of Hope (left) to his wife Elizabeth, depicted as Distress. This memorial image was presumably commissioned by one or both of these ladies.

August 2004