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William Lindow (d.1786) was a prosperous merchant at Lancaster. His wife Abigail (1740 - 1790) was the daughter of his business partner Abram Rawlinson. Their overseas trade is suggested by a glimpse of sea and shipping in the background. Romney's account book for October 1772 lists several family portraits painted for Lindow. Among them this one is described as A Conversation of Himself and his Lady. It cost ¿42. The note is particularly interesting, as it demonstrates that this dignified double portrait was considered informal enough to be described as a 'conversation piece', a term normally associated with relaxed domestic ease.

August 2004