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This informal group portrait was painted for Nathaniel Oldham, to commemorate a dinner party at this home. Oldham came home from hunting so late that the friends he had invited to dinner ate without him. He found them relaxing with a bowl of hot wine. Oldham is shown on the far left. In the centre, holding a pipe, is a neighbouring farmer. His friend, a local school master, holds a blue and white bowl. Between them, wearing a red velvet cap, is Joseph Highmore himself, Oldham’s close friend who was commissioned to paint the scene.

February 2016