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Portrait of Sir Francis Ford's Children Giving a Coin to a Beggar Boy

William Beecheyexhibited 1793

Tate Britain

Tate Britain
London, United Kingdom

Images of poverty were widespread in the late eighteenth century, but tended to be prettified. Unusually, this picture shows a particular act of charity, and stresses the misery of the beggar. Art theorists argued that images of the poor that were too realistic would disgust people rather than encourage acts of charity.

The father of these children, Sir Francis Ford, was a plantation owner and a politician who actively supported slavery. The existence of this painting of his children’s kindness towards the poor highlights the hypocrisy at the heart of the ideals of Sensibility.

Details

  • Title: Portrait of Sir Francis Ford's Children Giving a Coin to a Beggar Boy
  • Creator: Sir William Beechey
  • Date: exhibited 1793
  • Provenance: Purchased with assistance from the Art Fund 1993
  • Physical Dimensions: 1805 x 1500 mm
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Tate
  • Medium: Oil paint on canvas

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