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The sitters in this double portrait were thought to be William Fairfax, 3rd Viscount Fairfax of Emley and his wife Elizabeth (née Smith). They may have been painted around 1645 to commemorate their marriage. William Fairfax was a distant relation of Sir Thomas Fairfax, Lord General of the Parliamentarian New Model Army before Cromwell.

Gerard Soest is thought to have come from the town of Soest in Westphalia (modern-day Germany). He is noted for his portraits of men, but his depictions of women were considered less successful.

April 2005