Arthur Devis The James Family 1751

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Artwork details

Artist
Arthur Devis 1711–1787
Title
The James Family
Date 1751
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 984 x 1245 mm
frame: 1215 x 1465 x 92 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Purchased 1941
Reference
N05281
Not on display

Display caption

This group portrait shows Robert James, together with his wife Mary and two daughters Elizabeth and Ann. James, aged fifty-one at this time, was for many years Secretary to the East India Company. Devis specialized in painting fashionable small-scale portrait groups or 'conversation pieces’ set in domestic interiors or spacious parkland. Although such pictures were intended to portray family groups in a private setting, they can often appear quite formal, and in Devis’s case, even stiff. However, for a man such as James, a display of material wealth and worldly success was perhaps more meaningful than family intimacy.

May 2007

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