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'Mr and Mrs Atherton', Arthur Devis, c.1743

There is a large room with furniture and art placed around two figures who are centrally placed. The woman in sitting and the man is standing, they are set apart from each other. There is also a dog in the painting looking towards the couple.

This portrait was once thought to have commemorated the couple's wedding in 1730. Now however, it is believed to date from the following decade.

William Atherton (died 1745) was an Alderman and Mayor of Preston and a friend of the artist's father. Conversation pieces - family group portraits in informal, domestic settings - were a distinctive feature of 18th century painting. The furniture shown in this work is almost certainly the Atherton's own. The rather palatial room and grand garden, however, are probably inventions. Additions such as these were designed to exaggerate the sitters' social standing.