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Robert Byng
Robert Byng (1666-1720) Portrait of Two Children



A portrait of two children on a terrace overlooking a garden. The girl, standing, wears a white dress with a blue cloak attached with pearls and holds a basket of flowers in one hand and a sprig of orange blossom in the other. The younger child is seated on a plinth wearing a white dress and russet coloured cloak with an ostrich feather headdress, holding a pet dog. An angel looks down on them from above. Signed and dated 'R. Byng fecit 16..' (probably 1697). Dimensions: In frame 135 x 109cm (53 x 43 in) Provenance: Christies London, 5th April 1946, lot 22 sold by R.N.V. Sutton Esq. to Berendt Private collection, Sweden * An image of this portrait is featured in 'The Dictionary of 16th and 17th Century British Painters' by Ellis Waterhouse, 1988, page 40. Robert Byng (Wiltshire 1666-1720 Oxford) was a portrait painter born in Wiltshire to Thomas and Anne 'Binge'. His younger brother Edward was drapery painter to Kneller and his principal assistant until Kneller's death. His earliest dated portraits were painted c.1697 and show the influence of Kneller who may also have been his master. There are drawings by both Edward and Robert Byng in The British Museum which include a large number of studies of portraits by Kneller. This painting is a beautiful example of Byng`s talent for child portraiture - their is a softness and sensitivity in his approach and he uses simple yet decorative devices to add layers of meaning to emphasize the children's innocence and youth - the pet dog representing loyalty and friendship, the basket of flowers and orange blossom representing purity, fertility and readiness for marriage and the angel above was often used to represent someone close who has passed away - in this case probably a sibling. Literature: Ellis Waterhouse 'The Dictionary of 16th and 17th Century British Painters', 1988, page 40. Sir Roy Strong 'The British Portrait 1660-1960', 1991, page 126


  • Artist
    Robert Byng (1666 - 1720, English)
  • Creation year
  • Dimensions

    H 53 in. x W 43 in.

    H 134.62 cm x W 109.22 cm

  • Gallery location
    Bath, GB
  • Reference number
  • Seller reference number

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