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Francis Cotes (English, 1726 - 1770)
Double Portrait, 1757, pastel on blue laid paper mounted on canvas.
Bequest of Alice Speed Stoll. Frame conservation funded by Edith and Jacob Horn, The Horn Foundation 1998.6.2

During the eighteenth century Francis Cotes was almost as celebrated in England as Sir Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough. He was one of the pioneers of English pastel painting and a founding member of the Royal Academy. A fashionable painter of his day, he was highly sought after as a portraitist. This is a rare double portrait in pastels of two girls. They are likely sisters; they wear youthful dresses but are adorned with adult earrings. The clothing suggests that the girls are almost ready for marriage and the pastel also indicates that the girls would make good wives. Potential suitors would understand their walk in the woods as a sign of their natural, down-to-earth nature, and the dog is a symbol of their loyalty and fidelity.




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