- John Hamilton Mortimer 1740–1779
- Oil paint on canvas
- Support: 997 x 1260 mm
- Bequeathed by Mrs Elizabeth Carstairs 1952
Not on display
The group shows Lt. Col. George Thompson and his wife, who have been reading the collected works of the satirical poet Charles Churchill. A lady visitor, carrying her reticule and flowers, interrupts their slippered ease. From the casual gesture with which Thompson motions her towards a chair, one can assume that she is a close relation.The cosy domesticity displayed here is the essence of the small-scale informal group portrait or conversation piece. It is not surprising that Mortimer, who was also a painter of lively theatrical scenes, endows the present portrait with a stage like presence – perhaps even incorporating a hidden joke.
Gallery label, May 2007