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Mrs Elizabeth Moody with her sons Samuel and Thomas

Elizabeth Moody, n‚e Johnson (1756-82). In 1779 she married Samuel Moody (see Russell DPG6O1), to whom she bore two sons, Samuel (b.1781) and Thomas (b.1782). An X-ray reveals that DPG316 was originally painted as a single portrait, the sitter's right hand raised to finger a string of pearls at her chest. The portrait in this state was probably painted c.1779/ 80. The children must have been added after their mother's death - probably, from the evidence of their apparent ages, in 1784/5. Both sons followed military careers: Samuel served as Captain in Bengal and died unmarried in 1826; Thomas, a Captain in the 41st Foot in India, married in 1826 Lucy Wood of Reigate, and was still living in 1841. On 23 February 1786 their father remarried Mary Paterson (c.1767-1820). Thomas's diary is said to reveal an aversion to his step-mother and by giving this Gainsborough to a public gallery he would have prevented it from passing to her four children. The portrait was probably painted on the occasion of Moody's first marriage in 1779. The 'quasi-Turkish' ensemble of hairstyle and costume is of the late 1770s and the original elegent pose compares closely with Gainsborough's 'Mrs Henry Beaufoy' shown at the RA in 1780.

Currently on display

Artist
Thomas Gainsborough
Date
c.1779-85
Location
Gallery 3 - West Wall
Dimensions
234 x 154.2 cm
Materials
Oil on canvas
Acquisition
Gift of Captain Thomas Moody, 1831
Accession number
DPG316