John Orde, His Wife, Anne, His Eldest Son, William, and a Servant

John Orde, His Wife, Anne, His Eldest Son, William, and a Servant

between 1754 and 1756
Arthur Devis
1712–1787
Oil on canvas
Support (PTG): 37 x 37 7/8 inches (94 x 96.2 cm)
From the open door at the right of this painting a servant enters carrying a letter. It is addressed to John Orde (ca. 1704–ca. 1786), a landowner based in Morpeth, in northern England. Orde, seated at the far left, has been reading the Daily Advertiser. Meanwhile, Anne, his second wife, receives the gift of a pheasant from her stepson William. On the wall behind them are two further portraits of Orde family members. The mantelpiece displays fashionable blue-and-white porcelain vases exported from China. No records of the
servant depicted here have survived, but the fact that Devis charged his patrons for each figure painted suggests that this young man’s inclusion was important to the Ordes. While his green and gold livery is similar to that worn by white servants in this period, his luxurious silk turban deliberately marks him out. 
B2001.2.65
Inscribed, center right, on letter: "To: John Orde | at Mo[?]t [?]"; center left, on newspaper: "The Daily Adv[vertiser]"
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection