Hugh Barron

The Children of George Bond of Ditchleys


Not on display

Hugh Barron 1747–1791
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 1060 × 1397 mm
frame: 1263 × 1595 × 85 mm
Bequeathed by Alan Evans 1974

Display caption

George Bond, father of the seven children depicted in this portrait, was a wealthy city merchant, and an official in the East India Company. The family seems to have occupied several imposing residences, including a country house, ‘Ditchleys’ in Essex, and a Jacobean mansion in Wimbledon.In the foreground, the three older boys play cricket, flanked by their two sisters. Their two younger brothers are dressed in white frocks, as was then the custom for toddlers of either sex. The youngest boy, Essex Henry Bond, second from the left, later made his career as a commander in the navy, transporting convicts to Australia.

Gallery label, May 2007

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Catalogue entry


Inscribed ‘H Barron Pinxt 1768’ b.r.
Oil on canvas, 41 3/4×55 (106×139.7)
Bequeathed by Alan Evans to the National Gallery and transferred to the Tate Gallery 1974
Coll: ...; Warland Andrew, sold Christie's 24 July 1914(24), bought Huggins; the Hon. Frederick Wallop by 1930; by descent to Alan Evans
Exh: ?R.A. 1768(4) as ‘Young Gentlemen at Play’; Conversation Pieces, 25 Park Lane 1930 (souvenir booklet, p.7, repr.)
Lit: G. C. Williamson, English Conversation Pictures, 1931, p.24, pl. LXXII

The title is traditional, and was wrongly given in the 1931 publication as ‘The Children of George Bond of Ditchling Romford’. Nothing is known of the family, except that the Bonds lived at Ditchleys, South Weald, Essex (not very far from Romford) during the mid-eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. From title deeds at the Essex Record Office (D/DU667/8) it can be seen that George was a family name, but no details are known before 1783.

The painting is probably identical with that exhibited at the R.A. in 1768 and is one of Barron's early independent performances after leaving Reynolds' studio in 1766.

The boys are shown playing an early form of cricket.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1974-6: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1978


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