- William Hogarth 1697–1764
- Oil paint on canvas
- Support: 652 × 667 mm
frame: 865 × 895 × 78 mm
- Accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to Tate 2003
This is an example of an informal group portrait known as a ‘conversation piece’. The lady dressed in black is thought to be Catherine Darnley, Countess of Buckingham. She was considered an ‘illegitimate child’ as her parents, King James II and Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester, never married. Catherine had a reputation for being condescending in her high social position. She developed various rules on how to behave in her company, including not opening a fan. Hogarth satirises this, painting a dog with an open fan disrupting the calm of the scene.
Gallery label, October 2021
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