Thomas Gainsborough, R.A. (1722-1788)

Thomas Gainsborough, R.A. (1722-1788)


Full length, he standing wearing a dark blue coat and a white stock, she seated wearing a pink satin dress and black lace fichu, their daughter wearing a white dress, blue sash and white cap, beyond a landscape seen through a window to the right

Oil on canvas 238. 5 by 147.5cm / 94 by 58 inches

Painted circa 1760-1


By descent from the sitters to Wilhelrnina Traill;

Col.]ames C. Trail), her brother, his sale, Christies, 29th May 1880, lot 117

(unsold) reoffered 27th July 1882, lot 128, bought in;

With Lesser, 1885,

Sir Julian Goldsmid, Bt., his executors sale, Christie's, 13th_]une 1896, lot 66,

bought Tooth for £2,100;

Sir Joseph Benjamin Robinson, Bt., his sale, Christies, 6th July 1923, lot 5

(bought back by Sir Joseph Robinson, Bt):

By descent

Leger Galleries, 1989, “British Paintings”, catalogue no.2

Private collection USA


The Grosvenor Gallery, 1805, no. 176,

Royal Academy, The Robinson Collection, 1958, no. 39, reproduced in the souvenir,

p. 52,

Kunsthaus, Zurich, Sammlung Sir Joseph Robinson 1840-1929, 1962, no. 55, illus



Sir Walter Armstrong, Gainsborough, 1904, p. 194;

R.R.T. The Robinson Pictures at Christies, The Burlington Magazine Vol

XLIII,  July-December, 1923, p.34;

E. K. Waterhouse, Preliminary check list of Portraits by Thomas

Gainsborough, Walpole Society, 1948-1950, vol XXXIII, p.28;

Alfred Scharf, The Robinson Collection, The Burlington Magazine, Vol C

September 1958, p. 304;

E.K. Waterhouse, Gainsborough, 1958, p.63, no. 192;

Susan Sloman, Gainsborough in Bath, 2002, fig. 64, p.82, 85

Born in 1733, Philip Dehany was the son and heir of David Dehany, a merchant in Bristol and a planter in Jamaica, by his second wife Mary, daughter of Matthew Gregory. From the 1730s the family was resident in the Bristol area and they continued to live there throughout the time of Philip’s education at Westminster and at Trinity College, Cambridge. David Dehany died in Jamaica in 1754. In his father's will Philip Dehany took precedence over David Dehany's three sons and two daughters by his first marriage. Philip Dehany married Margaret Salter, seen with him in the portrait. Their daughter Mary Salter Dehany was born in June 1759. At the time of her birth they lived at Hungerford Park, Berkshire, but they did not own the house and subsequently moved to Farleigh Wallop, south of Basingstoke in Hampshire.

The portrait was painted in Bath in the early 1760s, with their daughter Mary shown at the age of about two.

In 1773, Mr. Dehany bought Kempshott Manor, in the neighbouring village to Farleigh, he pulled the old house clown and built a large new mansion in its place. He sold the house in 1787. Two years later the Prince of Wales rented it as a shooting box. He spent his honeymoon there with Princess Caroline in 1795, after which he gave up the lease.

Mr. Dehany was keenly interested in cricket, which was first played at Hambledon in Hampshire in the 17505. From 1765 he was one of the chief backers of the Hambledon Cricket Club. Other Members, who sponsored the players, were similarly rich young landowners, including the Marquis of Carnarvon and the Rev. Charles Powlett, son of the 3rd Duke of Bolton and his mistress Lavinia Fenton. The link between many of them was their education at Westminster and at Cambridge. By the 1770s thc Club was fashionable enough to boast Members such as the Duke of Chandos, the Earl of Tankerville (also a player), Viscount Palmerston, and Sir Richard Worsley. Mr. Dehany was present at many meetings, including, on Sept. 5th 1782, 2an extra meeting to eat venison and drink Bonhams and Fitzherbert's claret”. Although cricket was taken very seriously, the Club motto was “Wine, Cricket and Song”.  In 1774 he was a member of the Committee which revised the Laws of Cricket at the Star and Garter Hotel in Pall Mall. He was also a member of the Marylebone

Cricket Club, founded in 1787, after which the popularity of the Hambledon Cricket Club declined. The sitter was nevertheless a regular subscriber to the Club in the 1790s. His nephew George was also a member of both clubs and is said to have played in many of the great matches of the day.

From 1778-1780 Philip Delhany was M.P. for St. Ives, Cambridgeshire, voting with the Opposition and as a supporter of the Duke of Bolton. This patronage was presumably obtained through his cricketing friendship with the Duke's son, who lived at ltchen Abbas. In 1797 Mr Dehany purchased Hayes Place near Bromley in Kent, once the favourite home of the Earl of Chatham. At the time of his death there in 1809 he was also resident at Upper Seymour Street, Portman Square, London.                    

The sitters daughter Mary Salter Dahany was engaged to be married to John, 11th Earl of Caithness. Tragically the Earl committed suicide by shooting himself on their wedding day, 8th April 1789. It was also said that he was shot by a rival. Mary did not marry, but adopted Lord Caithness niece, Wilhelmina Trail.


Posted on December 29, 2016 and filed under Painting.