John Hamilton Mortimer George Thompson, his Wife and (?) his Sister-in-Law c.1766–8

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Artwork details

Artist
Title
George Thompson, his Wife and (?) his Sister-in-Law
Date c.1766–8
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 997 x 1260 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Bequeathed by Mrs Elizabeth Carstairs 1952
Reference
N06158
Not on display

Display caption

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.

May 2007

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