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  • In this portrait of George and Mary Browne and their five eldest children, Francis Wheatley has turned the conventions of the conversation piece upside down. The Browne family engage in the fashionable pursuits dictated by eighteenth-century ideals of polite behavior, but with a twist. It is Mr. Browne, Principal Clerk of the Westminster Fire Office insurance company, who serenely sketches by the lakeside, a traditionally female activity in conversation pieces. His wife, hitching up her skirt to reveal a bright pink petticoat, has confidently cast out her line and snared a catch, which her son George unhooks for her. Mrs. Browne’s confident stance—hand on hip—is a variation on the pose made famous by Anthony Van Dyck in his dashing male portraits. This reversal of traditional gender roles adds a layer of narrative interest missing from so many conversation pieces, in which the sitters are arranged in a monotonous friezelike manner. The Brownes are pushed to the right side of the canvas; more than half of the picture surface is given over to the depiction of the landscape that these Londoners temporarily inhabit. In the distance we see a humble thatched dwelling, suggestive of the cottagers and peasants who would become Wheatley’s dominant subject matter later in his career.
?:PX_curatorial_comment
  • In this portrait of George and Mary Browne and their five eldest children, Francis Wheatley has turned the conventions of the conversation piece upside down. The Browne family engage in the fashionable pursuits dictated by eighteenth-century ideals of polite behavior, but with a twist. It is Mr. Browne, Principal Clerk of the Westminster Fire Office insurance company, who serenely sketches by the lakeside, a traditionally female activity in conversation pieces. His wife, hitching up her skirt to reveal a bright pink petticoat, has confidently cast out her line and snared a catch, which her son George unhooks for her. Mrs. Browne’s confident stance—hand on hip—is a variation on the pose made famous by Anthony Van Dyck in his dashing male portraits. This reversal of traditional gender roles adds a layer of narrative interest missing from so many conversation pieces, in which the sitters are arranged in a monotonous friezelike manner. The Brownes are pushed to the right side of the canvas; more than half of the picture surface is given over to the depiction of the landscape that these Londoners temporarily inhabit. In the distance we see a humble thatched dwelling, suggestive of the cottagers and peasants who would become Wheatley’s dominant subject matter later in his career.
?:PX_display_wrap
  • Alternate title :: Family Group in a Landscape
  • Alternate title :: George and Mary Browne with their children
  • Bibliograpic reference :: A Great Collection of British Pictures in Virginia, The Times (London), Issue No. 55689, May 1, 1963, p. 5, Available Online : Times Digital Archive , Also available on Microfilm: Film An T482 (SML)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Brian Allen, The Sport of Collecting : Paul Mellon and British Art, Apollo, v.165,no.542, April 2007, pp. 32-33,37, fig. 1, N1 A54 + (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Brian Allen, The Sport of Collecting: Paul Mellon and British Art, Apollo, v.165,no.542, April 2007, pp. 32-33,37, fig. 1, N1 A54 + (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Cassandra Albinson, The worlds of Francis Wheatley, Yale Center for British Art, [New Haven, 2005, back cover, V 1612
  • Bibliograpic reference :: E. D. H. Johnson, Paintings of the British social scene, from Hogarth to Sickert, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1986, p. 74, no. 43, ND1452 G7 J64 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Elisabeth Fairman, Pleasures and pastimes, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut, 1990, p. 33, no. 267, DA485 F25 1990 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Elisabeth Fairman, Pleasures and pastimes, exhibition labels, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut, 1990, p. 109, no. 267, DA485 F251 1990 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Francis Wheatley RA, 1747-1801, paintings, drawings & engravings : an exhibition arranged by the Paul Mellon Foundation for British Art in association with the Aldeburgh Festival of Music and the Arts, June 15-25, and the City Art Gallery, Leeds, July 8-August 8., The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, [London, 1965, p. 7, 45, No. 97, NJ18 W56 A63+ (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Geoffrey Agnew, Yale's 1700 Mellon Pictures, The Times (London), issue no. 59989, Thursday, April 28, 1977, p. 9, Available Online : Times Digital Archive , Also available on Microfilm : Film An T842 (SML)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Geoffrey W. Beard, The compleat gentleman, five centuries of aristocratic life, Rizzoli, New York, 1992, p. 158, HT653 G7 B415 1992 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: J. H. Plumb, The pursuit of happiness : a view of life in Georgian England : an exhibition selected from the Paul Mellon collection, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 1977, p. 31, 69, cover, no. 1, N6766 Y34 1977 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: J. H. Plumb, The pursuit of happiness : a view of life in Georgian England : an exhibition selected from the Paul Mellon collection, a view of life in Georgian England : an exhibition selected from the Paul Mellon collection, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 1977, p. 31, 69, cover, no. 1, N6766 Y34 1977 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: John Baskett, Paul Mellon's legacy, a passion for British art : masterpieces from the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, pp. 266-67, no. 53, pl. 53, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Judy Egerton, British Sporting and Animal Paintings 1655-1867: A Catalogue, , Tate Publishing, London, 1978, pp. 139-41, no. 133, Colour Pl. 20, ND1383 G7 B75 OVERSIZE (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Julia Marciari-Alexander, This other Eden, paintings from the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1998, pp. 10, 38, 62-3, no. 19, fig. 9, ND1314.3 Y36 1998 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Luke Herrmann, The Paul Mellon Collection at Burlington House, Connoisseur, v. 157, no. 634, December 1964, pp. 213,216, fig. 5, N1 C75 + OVERSIZE (YCBA) , Another copy available in YCBA Vertical File Collection: v 2334
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Mario Praz, Conversation pieces, a survey of the informal group portrait in Europe and America., Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, University Park, 1971, fig. 143, ND1304 P713 + (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Mary Webster, Francis Wheatley, Paul Mellon Foundation for British Art, London, 1970, pp.23-24, p. 125, no. 27, fig. 27, NJ18 W56 W43 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Painting in England 1700-1850 from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, The Royal Academy of Arts Winter Exhibition 1964-65., , Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK, 1964, p. 61 (v. 1), no. 220, ND466 R68 1964/65 (YCBA) , Also available on Microfiche: Fiche B214 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Painting in England 1700-1850, collection of Mr. & Mrs. Paul Mellon., Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA, 1963, p. 139 (v. 1), no. 264, pl. 207, ND466 V57 v.1-2 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Paul Mellon's legacy, a passion for British art. [large print labels], Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, v. 3, N5220 M552 +P381 2007, Mellon Shelf (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Sotheby's sale catalogue : Catalogue of Fine Paintings by Old Masters and Modern Drawings : 14 June 1939, Sotheby's, London, 1939, p. 21, Lot 146, Film B12, Part III, reel 138 of 155 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: The Yale Center for British Art, An Anniversary Celebration of Paul Mellon's Great Legacy, Apollo, April 2007, pp. 32-33, fig. 1, N5220 M552 A7 OVERSIZE (YCBA) , Appeared as April 2007 issue of Apollo;; all of the articles may also be found in bound Apollo Volume [N1 A54 165:2 +]
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Wheatley, Francis - exhibition, The Times (London), June 1965, p. 17, Film AN T482 (SML Microfilm) , Also available on Microfilm: Film An T482 (SML)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Wheatley, Francis - grave: correspondence, The Times (London), February 1936, p. 8, Film An T482 (SML Film)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Yale University Art Gallery, Painting in England, 1700-1850, from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, [exhibition at] Yale University Art Gallery, April 15-June 20, 1965., vol. 1, W. Clowes and sons, , 1965, p. 59 (v. 1), no. 220, ND466 Y35 (YCBA)
  • Bibliograpic reference :: Yale University Art Gallery, Painting in England, 1700-1850, from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, [exhibition at] Yale University Art Gallery, April 15-June 20, 1965., vol. 1, W. Clowes and sons, New Haven, 1965, p. 59 (v. 1), no. 220, ND466 Y35 (YCBA)
  • Dimension height :: 70.5cm
  • Dimension width :: 88.9cm
  • Exhibition :: 2016 - Long Gallery 408
  • Exhibition :: An American's Passion for British Art - Paul Mellon's Legacy
  • Exhibition :: Francis Wheatley
  • Exhibition :: Painting in England 1700-1850 - From The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon
  • Exhibition :: Pleasures and Pastimes
  • Exhibition :: The Pursuit of Happiness - A View of Life in Georgian England
  • Exhibition :: This Other Eden : British Paintings from the Paul Mellon Collection at Yale
  • Located in :: 408
  • Located in :: Bay A
  • Located in :: New Haven
  • Located in :: Not on view
  • Located in :: On view
  • Located in :: Yale Center for British Art
  • Object type :: painting
  • Subject Concept :: apron (main garment)
  • Subject Concept :: artist
  • Subject Concept :: bonnet
  • Subject Concept :: bow
  • Subject Concept :: boys
  • Subject Concept :: chemise dress
  • Subject Concept :: children
  • Subject Concept :: conversation piece
  • Subject Concept :: disdain
  • Subject Concept :: father
  • Subject Concept :: fichu
  • Subject Concept :: fishing
  • Subject Concept :: gesture
  • Subject Concept :: girls
  • Subject Concept :: landscape
  • Subject Concept :: mother
  • Subject Concept :: petticoat
  • Subject Concept :: pond
  • Subject Concept :: portfolio (container)
  • Subject Concept :: portrait
  • Subject Concept :: ribbon
  • Subject Concept :: river
  • Subject Concept :: riverbank
  • Subject Concept :: rocks
  • Subject Concept :: ruffle
  • Subject Concept :: sketching
  • Subject Concept :: stockings
  • Subject Concept :: travel
  • Subject Concept :: water
?:PX_display_wrap
  • ...
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  • Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
?:PX_has_main_representation
?:label
  • The Browne Family
?:type