Johan ZoffanyThree Sons of John, 3rd Earl of Bute c.1763-4

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Artwork details

Johan Zoffany (1733‑1810)
Three Sons of John, 3rd Earl of Bute
Date c.1763-4
MediumOil paint on canvas
Dimensionssupport: 1009 x 1260 x 22 mm frame: 1270 x 1522 x 80 mm
Acquisition Accepted by HM Government in lieu of tax with additional payment (General Funds) made with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund and Tate Members 2002
On display at Tate Britain
Room: 1730


John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, commissioned this portrait of three of his sons as a pair with one of three of his daughters (Tate T07864). It was painted not long after Zoffany had left his native Germany for England in 1760. Zoffany quickly established himself in London as the leading painter of lively conversation pieces such as this, which were greatly admired for their charming informality.

In his portraits of the Three Sons and Three Daughters of Lord Bute, the only known pair of portraits of children by Zoffany, the artist stresses the playful and mischievous aspect of childhood, yet succeeds in capturing the youngsters’ charm without undue sentiment.

The Earl of Bute was one of Zoffany’s earliest and most important patrons… (read more)

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