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Sir Thomas and Lady Lucy with Seven of their Children

British (English) School

Category

Art / Oil paintings

Date

circa 1622 - 1624

Materials

Oil on canvas

Measurements

2032 x 3048 mm (80 x 120 in)

Place of origin

England

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Collection

Charlecote Park, Warwickshire (Accredited Museum)

NT 533841

Caption

Thomas Lucy III married Alice Spencer in 1610. They are here shown with seven of their children, and a nurse. The wealth of the family is implied through their costume, with intricately detailed lace, their jewellery, and the bowl of cherries – then a luxury foodstuff. The hawk and the bow suggest that the family partake in aristocratic pursuits. In this busy household, the rules were: no shooting with catapults indoors; courtesy to guests; and silence in the presence of elders. The boy approaching from the left, holding a bowl of apples, seems an awkward presence. It is possible that he is a page, rather than a family member, although his age might suggest that he is Spencer, who was born in around 1614. The picture was previously attributed to Cornelis Jonson/Cornelius Johnson.

Summary

Oil painting on canvas, Sir Thomas and Lady Lucy with Seven of their Children, English School, circa 1622/3. Sir Thomas Lucy III, MP (1585 – 1640), Alice Spencer, Lady Lucy (d.1648), Spencer Lucy (c.1614-1648), Robert Lucy (d.1658), Richard Lucy (c.1619 – 1677), Margaret Lucy (c. 1616 - c. 1640), Constance Lucy, later Lady Smith (b. c. 1614), George/Thomas/Fulke Lucy (b. c. 1623) and Bridget Lucy, later Lady Broughton (b,. c. 1621). The nurse also features holding the baby. Inscribed over Sir Thomas's head: Deus mihi haec otia fecit [God hath given this leisure; a paraphrase from Virgil, Eclogue l.6, substituting 'nobis' with 'mihi' ] (see also NT 533820 & NT 533838). Sir Thomas and Lady Lucy are seated in red upholstered wooden arm chairs. All figures are seated on a red patterned carpet with a red curtain behind. A hunting dog sits behind Sir Thomas’ chair. A hawk sits on a wooden perch in the bottom left corner. The hawk and the book on the side-table attest to Sir Thomas's love of hunting and reading. They are taking dessert (Cherry’s and peaches) with seven of the thirteen children they were to have. Lady Lucy selects a cherry and the young heir, Spencer cautiously steps over the threshold, with a landscape extending beyond behind him on the left, holding a dish of fruit. A nurse holds the baby to view and a couple of boys, wearing skirts or petticoats but with male bodices, sit with a dog in the foreground. The child on the far right seems to float in space but is standing on a stool, holding a bow. Vertue, visiting Charlecote in 1737, records having seen a large family piece in the hall, 'a copy'. The original was said to have been painted by Johnson and destroyed in the fire of London, 1666. However, though not by Cornelius Johnson it may be the original. A copy of this painting, possibly Bridget's that she took to Croxteth Hall, is now in Walker Art, Liverpool Gallery. The individual paintings of Dir Thomas and Lady Lucy are taken from this larger painting, dress and fixtures included. (533820 and 533821) In a large gilt frame. On loan from Sir Edmund Fairfax-Lucy, 6th Bt (b. 1945).

Provenance

On loan from Sir Edmund Fairfax-Lucy, 6th Bt (b. 1945).

Credit line

Charlecote Park, The Fairfax-Lucy Collection (National Trust)

Makers and roles

British (English) School, artist previously catalogued as attributed to Cornelius Johnson (London 1593 - Utrecht 1661), artist

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