The Seven Eldest Children of Captain Francis Delaval and Rhoda Apreece: Rhoda Delaval, later Lady Astley (1725 - 1757), Sir Francis Blake Delaval (1727 - 1771), Edward Delaval (1729 - 1814), John Hussey Delaval, later Lord Delaval (1728-1808), Anne Delaval, later Lady Stanhope (1737 - 1812), Sarah Delaval, later Countess of Mexborough (1742 - 1821), and Elizabeth Delaval (dates unknown)
attributed to Arthur Pond (London 1701 – Rome 1758)
Art / Oil paintings
Oil on canvas
2692 x 1625 mm (106 x 64 in)
Place of origin
England.Order this image
Seaton Delaval Hall, Northumberland
For some time the central figure was thought to be Rhoda Apreece, since her name appears on a tablet on the frame. She must, however, be Rhoda Delaval, especially in light of comparison with Pond’s other portrait of her, in which she wears the same dress, with flowers tucked into her bodice. It seems probable that her other siblings are not shown here because they had been sent away to other family houses, given the space constraints at Seaton Delaval. Arthur Pond was a portraitist (who also painted two views of Seaton Delaval), who was also employed to teach the family how to paint. Rhoda Delaval was a particularly accomplished amateur artist.
Oil painting on canvas, The Seven Eldest Children of Captain Francis Delaval and Rhoda Apreece: Rhoda Delaval, later Lady Astley 1725 – 57), Sir Francis Blake Delaval (1727 – 71), John Hussey, Lord Delaval (1728 – 1806), Edward Delaval (1729 – 1814), Anne, later Lady Stanhope (1737 – 1812) Sarah, later Countess of Mexborough (1742 – 1821), and Elizabeth (dates unknown), attributed to Arthur Pond (London 1701 - Rome 1758), circa 1751. Rhoda Delaval shown centre, in a landscape, two of her brothers to the left, entwined, and another brother behind her; her three sisters shown seated bottom right.
The central figure must surely be Rhoda Delaval, especially in light of comparison with Pond’s other portrait of her at Seaton Delaval, in which she wears the same dress, with flowers tucked into her bodice. In addition, the central figure seems to have a demeanor more appropriate to a seventeen-year-old than mother of twelve (if they had all been born by this time). Why, however, are the other children not shown here? We do not know the birth dates for Thomas (d.1787), Henry (d.1760), Robert (d.1759), George (d.1758), Ralph (d.1755), but if they had been born by the time this picture had been painted, it seems conceivable that there was also a portrait of the younger children, that was inherited by some other descendant, and that has either perished or remains to be discovered. In March 1749, however, Pond had already been paid for a portrait just of Rhoda and her three eldest brothers (now at Doddington; Louise Lippincott, ‘Arthur Pond’s Journal of Receipts and Expenses, 1734-1750’, The Fifty-Fourth Volume of the Walpole Society: 1988 , p.304), so the bonds between those four were close enough not to require the presence of any other siblings. The present picture, which must have been painted a little after the last entry in the Journal (November 1750) adds the three remaining girls to this, but no boys – possibly because they were either not yet born, or not out of the nursery.
Accepted in lieu of tax by H.M. Treasury and transferred to the National Trust in 2009
Seaton Delaval, The Hastings Collection (National Trust)
Makers and roles
attributed to Arthur Pond (London 1701 – Rome 1758), artist previously catalogued as after Joseph Highmore (London 1692 – Canterbury 1780), artist