Object Image

Mr and Mrs William Hallett ('The Morning Walk')

Gainsborough painted this portrait of William Hallett (1764-1842) and Elizabeth Stephen (1764-1833) shortly before their marriage on 30 July 1785. The couple are shown arm-in-arm on a morning walk with a Pomeranian sheepdog. The style of the portrait draws on the work of earlier painters Watteau and Van Dyck, and has a delicate poetic quality largely achieved through Gainsborough's light, feathery brushwork, which is typical of his late style.

Bride and groom were both 21 when they married, and may be wearing their wedding clothes. Some have seen the portrait as a universal statement about wedded bliss and Hallett's will records that he lived with Elizabeth 'most happily for nearly 48 years'. ...

Oil on canvas
236.2 x 179.1cm
Image and text © The National Gallery, London, 2023

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