PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTION JOSEPH WRIGHT OF DERBY, A.R.A. 1734-1797 PORTRAITS OF FRANCIS NOEL CLARKE MUNDY, AND HIS WIFE
both half length, he wearing a brown coat, she wearing a cream dress with a blue lace shawl
a pair, both oil on canvas, in carved wood frames
Tawney House, Matlock, Joseph Wright of Derby, 1964, no.10 (Mrs Mundy only)
LITERATURE AND REFERENCES
Benedict Nicolson, Joseph Wright of Derby, Painter of Light, 1968, Volume I, pp.30-31, 34, 215 and Fig.21, Volume II, Plates 43 and 44
This fine pair of portraits were painted circa 1762-63. At this time Wright had begun to produce works of outstanding quality, including the series of Markeaton Hunt portraits. The Markeaton Hunt portrait of Francis Mundy is illustrated under lot 83 in this sale and the facial resemblance between him and the gentleman in the present work is unmistakeable (for a fuller discussion of the sitter and his connecton with the Markeaton Hunt see lot 83) . Nicolson has pointed out that at this point in his career Wright was indebted to the work of Stubbs and in particular Thomas Frye (Nicolson, op.cit., p.31). Certainly the pose of Mrs Mundy, coquettishly clasping the pearls at her bosom, echoes a mezzotint of a girl holding up pearls which was published by Frye in 1760. Both these portraits have a piercing intensity, and Wright's use of light and shade on the faces of the sitters foreshadows his magnificent series of candle-lit scenes for which he became so famous.