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Lady Elizabeth Delme and her children, Joshua Reynolds - Description of the Painting

12 April 2022
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Lady Elizabeth Delme and her children - Joshua Reynolds. Canvas, oil. 238.4 x 147.2 cm


"A stately group portrait"... This is the title given by the National Gallery of Art to the Joshua Reynolds’ work. The portrait is indeed majestic. A lady with a classy hairdo and wearing an expensive dress hugs the kids. It would seem to be an idyllic image of a mother with children, with nothing special. But there is something drawing attention...

Heroes of the picture


A beautiful woman with a tranquil face is not looking directly at the artist but rather into the distance. She is lost in thought. About what? Her thoughts are unlikely to be cheerful, since there is nothing joyful in the lady’s look and even in her posture. Even the children cannot enthrall her. One can see that Elizabeth was prepared for the process, and this masterpiece was not created spontaneously created. Look at her hairstyle! It must have taken several hours to do it.

The fabric applied when making the burgundy drapery, has an important role to play in the image. It appears to be part of the attire. But, when looking closely, it is clear that the mantle was put on later. Her dress, made of fabric resembling modern guipure is magnificent with no need for any additions. Moreover, the mantle differs in color significantly. However, the very this element, that looks minor at first glance, enlivens the picture, making it more emotional.

Amazing creation


The painting looks natural, with all of its elements complementing each other organically. It should be treated as not only a portrait - it is a capture of a moment of the family’s life, stopped for a second.

People emote differently when stopping by this masterpiece in a gallery. Someone is admired, someone get sad, and someone wishes to get to know more about the characters. Even the photo of this picture does not leave anyone indifferent, let alone the original.
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