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.