The Duet

Oil Painting
1749 (made)
The Duet thumbnail 1
The Duet thumbnail 2
+1
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 52, The George Levy Gallery
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
Group portraits like this oil painting of an unknown couple were popular from about 1730. Paintings showing proud owners at home were a major source of income for many painters in Britain in this period.

Subjects Depicted
Families appeared in these pictures either outdoors on their estates or in an interior reflecting their social rank. The 'settings' often did not represent real interiors, and Devis tends to show them as sparsely furnished. However, the detail of the paintings on the walls and the view of the park through a fashionable Venetian window imply that the background to the scene may be based on a real house. The woman is shown seated at a harpsichord and a man standing behind handing her sheet music, implying wealth, culture, taste, harmony, and leisure.

People
The painter Devis was famous for informal portraits like this one, known generally in the 18th century as 'conversation pieces'. these were usually small canvases depicting groups of figures taking tea, playing cards and music, in contrast to the solemn, formal and static nature of later 17th-century portraiture. Devis's customers tended to come from the class of wealthy landowners rather than from the nobility, though both groups often preferred the new, relaxed and agreeable way of being portrayed.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
oil on canvas
Brief Description
Painting of a gentleman and a lady in an interior, the lady seated at a harpsichord. British, 1749. Painted by Arthur Devis.
Physical Description
An oil painting of a domestic interior with a woman seated at a harpsichord and a man standing behind handing her sheet music. There are paintings on the walls and there is a view of a landscape garden through a Venetian window.
Dimensions
  • Height: 115.5cm
  • Width: 103.5cm
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
'Artr. Devis fe. 1749' (Signature; Latin (abbreviated); lower right, on the stretcher of the harpsichord; painting (image-making); oil colour)
Gallery Label
British Galleries: Group portraits like this painting of an unknown couple were popular from about 1730. Families appeared either outdoors on their estates or in an interior reflecting their social rank. The painter Devis was famous for such 'conversation pieces' showing families in interiors that suggest their 'genteel' lifestyle. The settings often did not represent real interiors.(27/03/2003)
Credit line
Bequeathed by Ernest E. Cook through Art Fund
Object history
Bequeathed by Ernest E. Cook through the National Art Collections Fund, 1955
Subjects depicted
Summary
Object Type
Group portraits like this oil painting of an unknown couple were popular from about 1730. Paintings showing proud owners at home were a major source of income for many painters in Britain in this period.

Subjects Depicted
Families appeared in these pictures either outdoors on their estates or in an interior reflecting their social rank. The 'settings' often did not represent real interiors, and Devis tends to show them as sparsely furnished. However, the detail of the paintings on the walls and the view of the park through a fashionable Venetian window imply that the background to the scene may be based on a real house. The woman is shown seated at a harpsichord and a man standing behind handing her sheet music, implying wealth, culture, taste, harmony, and leisure.

People
The painter Devis was famous for informal portraits like this one, known generally in the 18th century as 'conversation pieces'. these were usually small canvases depicting groups of figures taking tea, playing cards and music, in contrast to the solemn, formal and static nature of later 17th-century portraiture. Devis's customers tended to come from the class of wealthy landowners rather than from the nobility, though both groups often preferred the new, relaxed and agreeable way of being portrayed.
Bibliographic Reference
100 Great Paintings in The Victoria & Albert Museum . London: V&A, 1985, p.64
Collection
Accession Number
P.31-1955

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record createdAugust 12, 1998
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