Skip to main content

oil painting

© Geffrye Museum, London

Group portrait of a family in a domestic interior, oil on panel, by an unknown artist, c.1815-1820, in a gilt frame with carved and applied moulding, c.1850-1900.
Object type: oil painting
Object number: 43/2006

More Information:

Detailed Description: +/-

Title/Model: A family scene in a domestic interior (descriptive title)
Physical Description:
Oil on panel painting showing seven figures in an interior, in a gilded wooden picture frame with carved feather-tip moulding applied at the sight edge, and a design of fasces bound with ribbon around the edges.
Materials & technique: oil on panel in a giltwood frame with carved and applied moulding
Dimensions: Height 75cm (frame)
Width 63cm (frame)
Height 57cm (view)
Width 45cm (view)

History: +/-

Date: 1815-1820 (painted)
Period: Georgian (1714-1837)
Artist/Maker Names: Unknown (artist)
Object History:
Recent discussion has suggested that the painting may be by John Partridge (1790-1872); see Home and Garden (2003), catalogue number 19. The visit of the country relations was a common genre painting subject. The fact that the central female figure with dark hair looks away from the visitor and does not appear to be comfortable indicates she may not be happy with the visitor. The portrait to the right of the painting is leaning forward, which may suggest a humourous take on the subject of family ties.

This painting appeared in the exhibition Home and Garden Part One, 1675-1830 at the Geffrye Museum (16 September 2003-18 January 2004), and in the publication Home and Garden: paintings and drawings of English, middle-class, urban domestic spaces, 1675 to 1914, edited by David Dewing (London: Geffrye Museum, 2003). This painting was catalogued by Eleanor John (catalogued number 17, pp.48-49). See the Comments field for extracts from the catalogue entry for this painting.

The painting was sold by Sotheby's (London, The British Sale, 19 March 2003, Lot 102), attributed to Edward Bird, RA (1772-1819), however, this is no longer thought to be the case. The date of c.1815-20 was suggested because the ladies are wearing divorce corsets, which separate the breasts; divorce corsets were introduced between 1811 and 1813.

Although the sitters have not been identified, it is thought that the painting is probably a subject painting rather than a portrait. The items and people depicted suggest a house visit: the central male figure offers a guest a drink; a maid holds a coat seemingly just taken from the visitor. The decoration of the room, with gilt framed paintings, bronze figures, and classical urns, suggest a cultured approach. The furniture is, in general, late eighteenth century, although the visitor's chair appears slightly later stylistically, and may date c.1810. The walls have plain coloured wallpaper with a paper border below the cornice and above the dado. The paintings in the room, particularly the portraits, suggest a relatively established family, as it indicates that the previous generation were sufficiently prosperous to commission portraits.
Display Labels:
Label text for the digital interactive located in the Reading Room (September 2015- June 2017):

This room is decorated with bronze classical ornaments on top of a large gilt mirror and eighteenth-century family portraits, which suggest that this is an established and refined household. The artist captures the bustle of arriving house guests. You can see the newcomers’ trunk on the floor and the maid in the background removes a visitor’s hat and coat. The rabbit is perhaps a present for the host’s young son.
Home and garden: paintings and drawings of English, middle-class, urban domestic spaces, 1675 to 1914, edited by David Dewing (London: Geffrye Museum, 2003)

Oil paintings in public ownership in London: North & East. Coordinator: Elizabeth Heath; Photographers: Doug Atfield and Andy Johnson (London: Public Catalogue Foundation, 2013).

Subject/Content: +/-

Content Description:
This painting depicts seven figures in an interior. Two male figures and a female figure are shown sitting on chairs in the foreground, with a small boy playing with a rabbit on the floor in front. There is a black case on the floor by the male figure to the left of the composition. A maid stands behind the central male figure, who holds a glass and a decanter. A male figure stands behind a seated female figure in the midground. The room has a plain wallcovering with a border at the dado and cornice. There are paintings in gilt frames on the walls, some of which are portraits. A gold overmantel mirror has a reflection showing further paintings. There are bronze figures on top of the mirror and on the mantel.
Noticed a mistake? Have some extra information? Please contact us at
You can see this object on display at the Geffrye Museum