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This small group portrait, or conversation piece’, has recently been attributed to Stephen Slaughter, an exact contemporary of William Hogarth. Seated in the centre, holding her granddaughter, is Mrs Betts. She is surrounded by her two daughters and her son-in-law. Isolated at the extreme left is the physician and dramatist, Dr Benjamin Hoadly. In his hand Hoadly holds a miniature of his deceased first wife, Elizabeth Betts, sister of the two young women in the portrait. Hogarth was a good friend of the Hoadly family and painted their portraits on several occasions, which explains why this painting was originally attributed to him.

September 2004