Arthur Pond, The Four Eldest Children of Francis and Rhoda Blake-Delaval

Photo courtesy of Dave Penman (All rights reserved)


Country House
Doddington Hall
The Four Eldest Children of Francis and Rhoda Blake-Delaval
Drawing Room
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Overall height: 244 cm, Overall width: 183 cm
Arthur Pond (c.1705-1758)
Catalogue Number


This large group portrait by Arthur Pond features from left to right, Edward Delaval (1729–1814), John Hussey Delaval (1728–1808), Rhoda Delaval, later Lady Astley (1725–1757), Sir Francis Blake Delaval (1727–1771). Payment for the picture is recorded in Arthur Pond’s journal in March 1749, ‘Miss Delaval & three Bros.’, purchased for £84, the largest sum recorded by Pond in his journal for a portrait commission (Lippincott, 1988).

As I note in my essay, ‘Arthur Pond, Doddington, and the Patronage of the Delavals’, the depictions of the heads in the present portrait are comparatively stylised, the faces expressionless and the figures stilted. Such shortcomings, it is suggested, may be explained by Pond’s employment of assistants in the production of the portrait. Indeed, it may be that while Pond himself was responsible for the layout and design of the portraits, much of the execution was carried out by members of his workshop. It may be that payments recorded in his journal by Pond in 1749 for ‘Three Whole lengths made out’ for £60 18s, with ‘Piecing out’ below, charged at £9 9s, refer to the division of labour over this and other commissions for the Delavals (Lippincott, 1988).

by Martin Postle


Louise Lippincott, 'Arthur Pond’s Journal of Receipts and Expenses, 1734–50', The Walpole Society, vol. 54, 1988, p. 304

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