A gorgeous portrait by John Singleton Copley of Abigail Bromfield, Mrs Daniel Dennison Rogers, painted in around 1784.
I’ve loved this painting ever since I came across it while studying for my degree. I love the drama, the shimmering colours, the rich colours of the sunset in the background, the wildness of the sky and the archly questioning look in the sitter’s eyes.
I’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with the artist ever since my very first week on my degree course at Nottingham University. I foolishly volunteered to lead the very first seminar, only to discover that it was to be about Copley’s best known work, which depicts some sailors tussling with a shark. I have an extreme shark phobia, so it didn’t go very well as I couldn’t bring myself to say the S Word, look at the picture or touch any pages that had it on. My next seminar, on the topic of Benjamin West’s painting of the death of General Wolfe, was not destined to go much better though, with no such excuse.