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Date: late 1700's
Medium: Oil on Canvas
Location: Music Room
Full length portrait of Mary Chaloner, sister in law of Edward Lascelles, later 1st Earl of Harewood. Mrs Hale is depicted as Euphrosyne, in white semi-classical dress with sandals, a posy of rose and honeysuckle at her chest. She is represented in dancing movement , while behind her children are dancing and playing musical instruments. Oil painting on canvas in gilt frame.
Reynold’s light-hearted image shows Mrs Hale as Euphrosyne, one of the Three Graces, the personification of Grace and Beauty and handmaiden to Venus. Depicting his female sitters in mythological guises was a common practice for Reynolds, and he often used poses and roles that alluded to great art of the past, in order to elevate the status of the sitter to that of a divine being. This painting was completed a year after the marriage in 1763 of Mary Chaloner to Colonel John Hale of the Light Horse. Mrs Hale proceeded to bear 21 children in her marriage, and it was once thought that the children in this picture were some of them, but this is not the case. The children represent the spirit of joy of music, playing timpani, triangle and cymbals as Mrs Hale dances. Her dancing pose is said to be taken from a print after Raphael’s St Margaret in the Louvre. Whilst this is plausible , given Reynold’s admiration for Raphael and his borrowing from earlier art, the evidence for this is not conclusive.