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Possibly Love

William Hogarth (British, 1697–1764). The Wedding of Stephen Beckingham and Mary Cox, 1729. Oil on canvas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Marquand Fund, 1936 (36.111)

The Wedding of Stephen Beckingham and Mary Cox by William Hogarth is a very intriguing piece. It depicts an intimate affair in which only family members and people on a "need-to-know" basis are present.

The groom, Stephen Beckingham, looks very possessive of his bride, Mary Cox, as he grabs her ring finger and looks directly at the minister. Directly above them, a dark cloud with cherubs seems to descend from heaven. The two cherubs appear to be giving their blessing, but there is a sense of foreboding and doom in the black, translucent cloud they rest upon. The lack of light in the painting suggests it is a secret marriage.

Come visit the British paintings galleries in European Paintings. Intrigue and secrets await you!

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