Portrait of two children

George Richmond British

Not on view

Richmond was one of Victorian Britain’s most successful watercolor portraitists, creating intimate and engaging images. His reputation was launched in 1832 when he represented the abolitionist-politician William Wilberforce. By 1837, when he made this work, he earned a thousand pounds annually (about £140,000 today). A miniaturist’s training underpins the confidently executed faces of these siblings. Lines of graphite visible beneath the layers of color demonstrate how the composition was established, while lively details, such as the girl’s red sash, the boy’s colorful handkerchief, and the gold-tasseled cap, enhance the informal mood. A few months after he made this work, Richmond and his wife departed London for a two-year stay in Italy.

Portrait of two children, George Richmond (British, Brompton 1809–1896 London), Watercolor and gouache (bodycolor) with touches of gum and gold, on yellow paper

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