Sir John Everett Millais, Bt

Hearts are Trumps

1872

Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 1657 x 2197 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1945
Reference
N05770

Display caption

In its style, which recalls the works of the eighteenth-century painter Sir Joshua Reynolds, and in its flattering depiction of the fashionable sitters, this picture expresses a gentle and nostalgic vision of family life. Elizabeth, Diana and Mary, daughters of Walter Armstrong of Scotland and London, were in their twenties when Millais painted them. Mary holds most of the trumps and looks towards the viewer. Delicately, the card game hints at sisterly competition in husband-finding.

Gallery label, August 2004