Oil on canvas
Framed: 224.5 x 201.3 x 11.4 cm (88 3/8 x 79 1/4 x 4 1/2 in.); Unframed: 196 x 170 cm (77 3/16 x 66 15/16 in.); Former: 223.5 x 198 x 9 cm (88 x 77 15/16 x 3 9/16 in.)
Bequest of John L. Severance 1942.645
Her family affectionately referred to Mary Jemima (at right) as "Mouse."
Sisters Amabel (left) and Mary Jemima are shown playing on the grounds of their family’s country estate outside London. They wear loose, flowing garments invented specifically for the portrait rather than their usual outdoor dresses. Their father commissioned the painting to hang in the family’s city home in London’s St. James Square and it highlights their status as landowners. Joshua Reynolds painted this portrait after his return from Italy, where his studies inspired him to incorporate classical references. The famous ancient Roman Statue of a Girl with a Dove is echoed in Mary Jemima’s pose as she shields a dove from the family dog.
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