Mrs. Robert Shurlock (Henrietta Ann Jane Russell, 1775–1849) and Her Daughter Ann
John Russell (British, Guildford 1745–1806 Hull)
Pastel on paper, laid down on canvas
23 7/8 x 17 3/4 in. (60.6 x 45.1 cm)
Pastels & Oil Sketches on Paper
Gift of Geoffrey Shurlock, 1967
Not on view
The sitters are John Russell’s daughter, Henrietta (1775–1849), and his first granddaughter, Ann. Henrietta was the sixth of the artist’s twelve children but the oldest to survive to maturity, and in 1800 she married Robert Shurlock of Chertsey, which was near Russell’s residence in Guildford, Surrey. This portrait was likely begun around the time of the marriage. Here the young mother, wearing an elegant white gown and a cap and shawl made of gauzy fabrics, cradles her infant. An inscription on a label on the reverse states that Russell added the child to the composition at a later date, which explains the unusual length of the mother’s right forearm.
Henrietta Ann Jane Russell was the sixth of twelve children born between 1770 and 1785 to John Russell and his wife Hannah Faden (1745–1816); she was the eldest child to survive to maturity. She is shown here at the age of twenty-five, around the time of her marriage to Robert Shurlock (1772–1847) of Chertsey, near Guildford, Surrey. The Museum owns his portrait by Russell (67.131) as well. Henrietta and Robert had fourteen children, the first of whom, Ann, is portrayed here. A brown paper label on the old backing notes that the baby was added to the composition by Russell after the portrait was first painted.
Ann was Russell's first grandchild and it is easy to locate in this painting a new grandfather's pride, from her pink cheeks and wet lips, to her pudgy arms and double chin. The pastel medium lends itself to the textures of the gauzy fabrics worn by both mother and baby, as well as to the more precise detailing of the lace. Russell often painted his sitters without showing their hands, and the hands here attest to some compositional difficulty: the fingers of the baby's right hand are unusually splayed, while her mother's hand and forearm are awkwardly elongated. This portrait was given to the Museum in 1967 by the sitter's great-grandson.
Inscription: Signed and dated (upper right, in red chalk): J Russell R.A. pt. / 1801.
Robert Shurlock, Chertsey, near Guildford, Surrey (until d. 1847); his son, Dr. Manwaring Shurlock, Eynsham, and later Chertsey (1847–d. 1899); his niece, Emily Shurlock, Oxford (from 1899); her nephew, Geoffrey Manwaring Shurlock, Los Angeles, California (by 1966–67)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Pastel Portraits: Images of 18th-Century Europe," May 17–August 14, 2011, no. 44.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Eighteenth-Century Pastels," August 6–December 29, 2013, no catalogue.
George C. Williamson. John Russell, R.A. London, 1894, p. 164, as Henrietta Ann Jane Russell, daughter of the artist, with a baby, 1800, the baby added in 1801; the pastel in the collection of her son, Mainwaring Shurlock, Chertsey.
Katharine Baetjer. British Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1575–1875. New York, 2009, pp. 149, 151, no. 69, ill. (color).
Katharine Baetjer and Marjorie Shelley. "Pastel Portraits: Images of 18th-Century Europe." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 68 (Spring 2011), pp. 51, 54, no. 44, ill. (color).
Inscribed in black ink, apparently by Manwaring Shurlock, on a brown paper label removed from the old backing: Mrs. Shurlock / by J. Russell R.A. 1801 / The baby being inserted afterwards / Give to Miss Emily Shurlock / 1891 / M.S.