This painting shows the Harvey family of Rolls Park, Essex. Their wealth was built on business, but the scale and format of this picture imitates the aristocratic style of grand courtly portraiture. Does the restrained style of this painting suggest a new set of social values?
Such striking paintings were meant to be seen in country house galleries where other portraits were on show, so that the continuity of the family over generations could be stressed.
Gallery label, March 2011