Seeking advice on portrait dating and costume
A query from Valence House Museum:
This portrait is described as Mrs Mary Linsdell (b.1805) and her daughter Annie (b.1841) and was donated in 1942 by Annie’s son-in-law. Annie was the fifth child and third daughter of Mary and her husband Thomas. The portrait is by John Robert Wildman – portrait, landscape, historical and animal artist – of London.
We are now starting to question whether the child shown is actually Annie. Wildman stopped painting in 1842 following the sudden death of his wife. If it is Annie in the painting, she would have actually been just a few months old when it was completed (having been born late 1841). This clearly doesn’t fit.
We know there is a companion portrait to this showing Thomas Linsdell and their first daughter Mary, by Margaret Sarah Carpenter. Why would the Linsdell’s choose to have their first child included in the portrait of Thomas and the fifth child included in the portrait with Mary when children two-to-four all survived to adulthood? We now suspect that our portrait shows their second child and first son, Thomas (b.1835).
We would like to know:
- Are the costumes shown in our portrait consistent with those from around 1837?
- Could the child shown be a boy, dressed in normal pre-breeching gown of the period?
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