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Turner exhibited this tribute to the seventeenth-century painter, Sir Anthony Van Dyck, in 1831. The composition is based on paintings by Van Dyck belonging to Turner's patron, the third Earl of Egremont.

The painting shows one of Egremont's ancestors, Henry Percy (seated) and his daughters Lucy (left) and Dorothy (right). They had obtained his release from the Tower of London, where he was imprisoned on suspicion of being involved in the Gunpowder Plot.  The story is echoed by the paintings on the wall: a view of the Tower and a large painting of the Angel releasing St Peter from prison.

September 2004