Group portrait, probably of the Raikes family

Group portrait, probably of the Raikes family

between 1730 and 1732
Gawen Hamilton
ca. 1697–1737
Oil on canvas
Support (PTG): 26 x 36 1/8 inches (66 x 91.8 cm)
In a paneled room, members of a well-to-do family appear to be celebrating with a toast. At left, two servants prepare glasses and wine for the assembled sitters. A black servant polishes a goblet, while the white servant next to him uncorks a bottle. The seated man wearing black is probably Robert Raikes, a prosperous newspaper proprietor based in Gloucester. Close by was Bristol, a major seaport where many people of African descent arrived in Britain from the Americas, and where some were bartered or sold as slaves. Raikes’s Gloucester Journal conveyed news of Atlantic ships and trade, as well as advertisements for black servants (probably enslaved) who had escaped from their masters.
B1976.7.32
Label on verso, upper left: “Painting in England, 1700-1850 | The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Richmond 20 | Artist: Gawen Hamilton | Title: ‘The Raikes Family’ | Cat. No. 214 | Medium: Oil on Canvas <Loan No.:> | Insure for: Sales Price: | Lender: Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon | Address: Upperville, Virginia | Please fill in and attach securely to work before sending to museum”; lower center: “A. 5671 | The Raikes Family | by | G. Hamilton | Arthur Tooth & Sons Ltd | Old Masters & Modern Paintings | 31 Bruton Street London W1 Mayfair 2920”; lower right: “Owner | Artist Hamilton, Gawen | Title The Raikes Family | National Gallery of Art PM 700”
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection