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Oil painting - Portrait of Charles Bedford as an infant
  • Portrait of Charles Bedford as an infant
    Hayman, Francis RA
  • Enlarge image

Portrait of Charles Bedford as an infant

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    England (painted)

  • Date:

    1744-1745 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Hayman, Francis RA (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on canvas. Carved and gilded frame.

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with the assistance of the Art Fund

  • Museum number:

    B.1-2016

  • Gallery location:

    Museum of Childhood, Babies Gallery, case WN []

This painting is one of numerous surviving portraits commissioned by Grosvenor Bedford (1708-1771), Horace Walpole’s deputy as usher of the Exchequer. The child depicted is Charles, born on 20th March 1742/3, one of twelve children of Bedford and his wife Jane Fox. It was painted by Francis Hayman RA, an artist whose works include portraits, book illustrations, history paintings and engravings. Hayman was the painter of numerous conversation pieces, theatrical scenes and decorations, including those for Vauxhall Gardens in the 1740s (two of which are now in the V&A collection).

This painting is interesting for its unusually intimate and informal pose - a departure from the formal conventions of portraiture in this period. Charles is shown wearing a simple nightgown, holding a rusk. This representation allows the viewer a glimpse into the life of upper class children of the mid-18th century.

Charles Bedford is depicted in three further paintings by Francis Hayman (two in private collections, one in Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter). The sitter’s father, Grosvenor Bedford, also commissioned Hayman on a number of family portraits such as ‘Grosvenor Bedford with His Family and Friends’ (1741 – 2). The relationship between the painter and his patron was so close that they are depicted together in a double portrait by Hayman from 1748 (now in National Portrait Gallery).

Physical description

Oil painting, a portrait of a red-haired infant. The child is laid on his front, wearing a white garment, and is propped on a pillow upon a daybed. In his right hand he holds a rusk, he is staring directly at the viewer. The child's left leg is raised at the knee. The portrait is framed by the bed's green silk drapery and the child reclines on a pink silk quilt. The painting's frame is original, it is very finely carved in the Rococo style, and is gilded.

Place of Origin

England (painted)

Date

1744-1745 (painted)

Artist/maker

Hayman, Francis RA (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas. Carved and gilded frame.

Marks and inscriptions

‘30593’
Rectangular paper label with printed red border on reverse of top stretcher member, left side. Handwritten in black ink.

’HAMPTONS’ / DEPOSITORY / QUEENS’S ROAD, BATTERSEA PARK, S. W. B. / Name….’
Rectangular paper label with printed black border on reverse of top stretcher member, centre. Black printed inscription

CHAPMAN BROS. / (CHELSEA) LTD / Picture Restorers, Carvers, Gilders, etc, / 241 KING’S RD., CHELSEA/No. 2138 [handwritten in blue ink]’
Rectangular paper label with printed red border on reverse of cross-brace of stretcher. Printed in black ink

Dimensions

Height: 51 cm, Width: 61 cm

Object history note

Originally commissioned by Grosvenor Bedford in 1744 or 1745, the painting remained in the Bedford family’s possession through family descent until it was sold on behalf of the family by Woolley & Wallis in 2014 to John Mitchell Fine Paintings. It was purchased by the V&A in 2016.

Historical context note

Francis Hayman (1708-1776) born in Exeter, was an artist whose works include portraits, book illustrations, history paintings and engravings. Hayman was the painter of numerous conversation pieces, theatrical scenes and decorations, including those for Vauxhall Gardens in the 1740s (two of which are now in the V&A collection).

Descriptive line

Portrait of Charles Bedford as an infant, oil on canvas, ca. 1745 by Francis Hayman, in a gilded frame.

Materials

Oil paint; Wood

Techniques

Painting; Carving; Gilding

Subjects depicted

Infants; Bed

Categories

Paintings; Children & Childhood

Production Type

Unique

Collection

Museum of Childhood

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