Skovgaard created an original family portrait for the landowner Hammerich at his manor of Iselingen near Vordingborg on the Danish island of Zealand. The innovation is in giving the wood and nature the leading roles in an idyll with children, wife and dog. Unlike the classical 18th century portraits where nature was a setting for the human being, the painter has made a sunlit forest clearing the perfect frame around the good people who own the land. The title emphasises that beech trees and family go hand in hand. A more Danish and elegantly symbolic picture of the good life and the strength of the country would be hard to find.


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