Display caption

This is the first in a series of 12 paintings by Joseph Highmore illustrating scenes from Samuel Richardson’s best-selling sentimental novel Pamela: or, Virtue rewarded. The story, first published in 1740–1, centres on the virtuous lady’s maid Pamela Andrews. She repeatedly rebuffs, then reforms and finally marries her aristocratic would be seducer, Mr B. Scene I is set in a comfortable, panelled study of a well-to-do house. Its solid, old-fashioned furniture and a picture of The Good Samaritan over the fireplace underline the traditional values of the heroine.

February 2016