Mrs. John Garden (Ann Garden, 1769–1842) and Her Children, John (1796–1854) and Ann Margaret (born 1793)
John Hoppner (British, London 1758–1810 London)
1796 or 1797
Oil on canvas
50 1/8 x 39 7/8 in. (127.3 x 101.3 cm)
Bequest of Maria DeWitt Jesup, from the collection of her husband, Morris K. Jesup, 1914
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 629
This portrait of a mother and two children shows the family of John Garden. Until 1808, when Garden senior bought the estate of Redisham Hall, Suffolk, the family lived in London. Garden's son, still a baby, has the fair skin of a redhead. He wears a white dress trimmed with three rows of four tiny, brass buttons on the bodice, and sits in his mother's lap.
The picture, which demonstrates Hoppner's sympathetic response to young children, is unfinished but was accepted by the family nevertheless.
John Garden (1759–1820) of the City of Westminster bought the Redisham Hall estate, Suffolk, in 1808. He razed the Elizabethan house on the site and built a new residence, which was completed in 1823, after his death. He and his wife, Annie, had two children, Ann Margaret, born 1793, and John, born 1796. Ann Margaret married Charles Burmester and lived in London. Her brother, John, and his wife, Amelia, settled at Redisham Hall. The couple had four daughters and three sons (biographical information drawn largely from the Garden family papers, held at the Lowestoft Record Office, Suffolk, provided by Gudrun Reinke, searchroom assistant).
Given the younger John Garden’s date of birth, this unfinished canvas must have been painted in 1796, or perhaps 1797, a dating confirmed by the sitters' costumes. Evidently Mr. Garden was pleased with the likenesses, and unconcerned about the absence of finish, as he must have paid for the portrait and taken it away in the state in which we see it. The canvas had been exceedingly dirty and, when cleaned in recent years, proved to be in very good condition.
[2010; adapted from Baetjer 2009]
John Garden, London and Redisham Hall, Suffolk (until d. 1820); the sitter, John Garden, London and Redisham Hall (1820–d. 1854); John Lewis Garden, Redisham Hall (1854–d. 1892; posthumous sale, Christie's, London, May 6, 1893, no. 122, as "Portraits of Mrs. Garden and her children, the late J. L. Garden, Esq., and his sister", for £409.10.0 to Wallis); [Wallis, London, from 1893]; Mr. and Mrs. Morris K. Jesup, New York (until his d. 1908); Maria DeWitt (Mrs. Morris K.) Jesup, New York (1908–d. 1914)
New York. American Federation of the Arts. "English Portraits and Landscapes (circulating exhibition)," 1951–52.
Westport, Conn. Westport Community Art Association. "Paintings of Children," May 8–27, 1959, no. 18.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Small Illusions: Children's Costume 1710–1920," June 20–September 9, 1990, no catalogue.
William McKay and W[illiam]. Roberts. John Hoppner, R.A. London, 1909, p. 94, reiterate the information in the 1893 sale catalogue.
B[ryson]. B[urroughs]. "European Paintings in the Jesup Collection." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 10 (May 1915), p. 94.
"Bequest of Mrs. Morris K. Jesup." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 10 (February 1915), p. 22, as Mrs. Gardiner [sic].
The Springfield Museum of Fine Arts Handbook. Springfield, Mass., 1948, ill. p. 26, while on loan to Springfield.
Katharine Baetjer. British Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1575–1875. New York, 2009, p. 192, no. 94, ill. pp. x (gallery installation, color), 193 (color).