Wedgwood Family Portrait

Painting
1780
Wedgwood Family Portrait thumbnail 1
Wedgwood Family Portrait thumbnail 2
+1
images
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker

During the summer of 1780 George Stubbs stayed at Etruria, with the Wedgwood family whilst Josiah experimented in making large-size terracotta plaques for Stubbs to paint on. During his stay Stubbs made sketches for a large family conversation piece depicting the whole Wedgwood family gathered in the grounds of their home - Etruria Hall. The famous picture, on oak panel, shows Stubbs’s ability as a horse painter, for which he was rightly acclaimed. Josiah suggested that Stubbs could make some contribution towards the enormous cost of the ceramic plaque he was producing for him commenting; ‘we will take the payment in paintings’. The large family painting was not liked by Josiah, who felt that the likenesses were ‘strong, but not very delicate’. He was particularly critical of the depictions of his wife, Sarah, and their daughters Susannah and Mary Anne in particular. Although never totally satisfied with the painting Josiah finally admitted that there was ‘much to praise and little to blame’ in the picture. Stubbs also painted Josiah and Sarah on ceramic plaques and Sarah’s father Richard Wedgwood while he stayed in Staffordshire. These family portraits also form part of the Wedgwood Museum collections and are displayed in the Wedgwood Museum, together with another interesting painted ceramic plaque traditionally thought to depict Erasmus Darwin, though now tentatively attributed, by a Stubbs scholar, to be Dr Hardy.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Brief Description
Oil painting, Wedgwood family picture painted by George Stubbs in 1780.
Dimensions
  • Height: 1490mm
  • Width: 2130mm
  • Depth: 115mm
  • Frame height: 1491mm
  • Frame width: 2105mm
  • Frame depth: 80mm
Credit line
V&A Wedgwood Collection. Presented by Art Fund with major support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, private donations and a public appeal.
Summary
During the summer of 1780 George Stubbs stayed at Etruria, with the Wedgwood family whilst Josiah experimented in making large-size terracotta plaques for Stubbs to paint on. During his stay Stubbs made sketches for a large family conversation piece depicting the whole Wedgwood family gathered in the grounds of their home - Etruria Hall. The famous picture, on oak panel, shows Stubbs’s ability as a horse painter, for which he was rightly acclaimed. Josiah suggested that Stubbs could make some contribution towards the enormous cost of the ceramic plaque he was producing for him commenting; ‘we will take the payment in paintings’. The large family painting was not liked by Josiah, who felt that the likenesses were ‘strong, but not very delicate’. He was particularly critical of the depictions of his wife, Sarah, and their daughters Susannah and Mary Anne in particular. Although never totally satisfied with the painting Josiah finally admitted that there was ‘much to praise and little to blame’ in the picture. Stubbs also painted Josiah and Sarah on ceramic plaques and Sarah’s father Richard Wedgwood while he stayed in Staffordshire. These family portraits also form part of the Wedgwood Museum collections and are displayed in the Wedgwood Museum, together with another interesting painted ceramic plaque traditionally thought to depict Erasmus Darwin, though now tentatively attributed, by a Stubbs scholar, to be Dr Hardy.
Other Number
5703 - Wedgwood Accession Number
Collection
Accession Number
WE.10011-2014

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record createdFebruary 25, 2016
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