Portrait of the Children of Lord George Cavendish
Oil on canvas
Inv. No. On permanent loan from the Adolf and Luisa Haeuser Foundation
220 × 170 cm
The Portrait of the Children of Lord George Cavendish shows what had become of the tradition, established by van Dyck, of portraying members of the aristocracy in the Baroque garden, which by now had developed into the motif of children moving freely in nature. Inspired by such forerunners as Thomas Gainsborough (1727–88), Lawrence had joined others in advocating the “liberation” and discovery of the children of the English nobility around 1800, a movement whose ideological roots can be retraced to the Enlightenment. It was through the special efforts of former Städel director Herbert Beck that this large-scale painting was acquired as a loan from the Adolf and Luisa Haeuser Foundation; it has been gracing the museum’s galleries since 2001.