A lady in prettiest pink

5 January 2012

How is this for splendid? It’s a portrait of Sir John Pole and his wife Elizabeth by Thomas Hudson and was painted in 1755.

I love how the beautiful shimmering salmon pink of Lady Pole’s gown is echoed in the sunset behind the couple. I also love Lady Pole’s faintly coquettish and yet arch air and the rather risky way that she is showing off one of her shapely ankles. Sir John has a face that is quintessentially Upper Class English and you can still see men who look exactly like him wandering around point to points in Yorkshire in a rather racey yellow cords and Hunter wellies ensemble.

It’s a very English portrait of a very English couple and yet it owes a certain something, perhaps the twinkle in Milady’s eye to the French school led by Fragonard and Boucher. It’s a charming piece of work but perhaps it is easy to see why Walpole (who was Hudson’s neighbour in Twickenham) considered the artist’s style to be somewhat vulgar and flashy.

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