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Gawen Hamilton, ca. 1697–1737, British
formerly William Hogarth, 1697–1764, British

The Brothers Clarke with Other Gentlemen Taking Wine

between 1730 and 1735
Oil on canvas
Support (PTG): 32 1/2 x 45 1/2 inches (82.6 x 115.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
bowl | carafe | conversation piece | curtain | decanters | dog (animal) | drinking glasses | dwarf | frames (furnishings) | greyhound | interior | letter (correspondence) | overmantel | paintings | platter | portrait | servants | silver | statue | table | tea | tray | wine | wine cooler
Not on view

In the 1730s Gawen Hamilton was considered to be the chief rival to William Hogarth in the genre of the conversation piece. According to George Vertue, "[H]is paintings of Conversations small figures are agreable [sic] & much variety & correctness of mode & manner of the time & habits. [H]e may well be esteemd [sic] a rival to Hogarth[,] having as much justness [,] if not so much fire." Indeed, the attribution of B1981.25.319 went back and forth between Hogarth or Hamilton several times during the twentieth century. In what was intended to be a group portrait, the Clarke brothers (their surname is all we know) and other bewigged gentlemen sit or stand around a covered table on which there are decanters of wine and a clear glass carafe. All of the tapered conical glasses are empty except for that of the seated gentleman, presumably one of the Clarke brothers, looking out at the viewer. On the left, a servant can be seen filling a decanter from a large wine cooler on the floor, while a servant boy next to him holds a tray of glasses, watching and waiting for the bottle to be filled. On the table next to them is a two-handled ceremonial drinking cup. In addition to the gentlemen's dress and deportment, the paintings and decorative overmantel behind them attest to their culture and refinement. A more elaborate version of this overmantel appears in Hamilton's The Du Cane and Boehm Family Group (1734-35; Tate, T07505).

British Art at Yale, Apollo, v.105, no. 182, April 1977, p. 257, N5220 M552 A7 1977 OVERSIZE (YCBA) Published as April 1977 issue of Apollo; all of the articles may also be found in bound Apollo Volume [N1 A54 105:2 +]

Ching-Jung Chen, Tea Parties in Early Georgian Conversation Pieces, British Art Journal, vol. 10, Spring / Summer 2009, pp/ 36,39 [fn 78], N6761 B74 OVERSIZE (YCBA) Also available online : ORBIS

Ching-Jung Chen, The early Georgian conversation piece : Thesis (Ph. D.)--Rutgers University, UMI Dissertation Services, Ann Arbor, 2001, pp. 192, 301-03, cat.o. 39, Available online : ProQuest Dissertations & Theses

Malcolm Cormack, A Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 108-109, N590.2 A83 (YCBA)

Ralph Edwards, Georgian Conversation Pictures, Apollo, v.105, no. 182, April 1977, p. 257, N1 A54 105:2 + (YCBA) Another copy of this article may be found in a separately bound and catalogued copy of this issue located on the Mellon Shelf [call number : N5220 M552 A7 1977 + (YCBA)]

Dwight P. Lanmon, The golden age of English glass, 1650-1775, Antique Collectors' Club, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2011, pp. 10, 307, fig. 181, NK5143 L35 2011 + (YCBA)

Painting in England 1700-1850 from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, The Royal Academy of Arts Winter Exhibition 1964-65., , Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK, 1964, p. 7, no. 21, ND466 R68 1964/65 (YCBA) Also available on Microfiche: Fiche B214 (YCBA)

Kate Retford, The Conversation Piece Making Modern Art in Eighteenth-Century Britain, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2017, p. 276, fig. 205, ND1314.4 .R48 2017 (LC) Oversize (YCBA)

Sacheverell Sitwell, Conversation pieces, a survey of English domestic portraits and their painters , B.T. Batsford, London, 1936, pp. 18, 92, pl. 19, ND1314 S5 1936 (YCBA)

Sotheby's sale catalogue : Fine Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Drawings and Paintings : 29 May 1963, Sotheby's, London, May 29, 1963, p. 44, lot 113, Auction Catalogues (YCBA)

Roy C. Strong, The British portrait, 1660-1960, Antique Collectors' Club, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1991, pp. 136, 139, pl. 124, ND1314 B743 1991 (YCBA)

Yale University Art Gallery, Painting in England, 1700-1850, from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, [exhibition at] Yale University Art Gallery, April 15-June 20, 1965. , vol. 1, W. Clowes and sons, New Haven, 1965, p. 27, no. 98, ND466 Y35 (YCBA)

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