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Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi/ Photo: APF

Portrait of William and Penelope Welby Playing Chess


Francis Cotes

Portraitist to the English royal family, Francis Cotes was at the height of his career when he painted this young English couple playing chess. The choice of subject bears witness to the growing interest in marital intimacy. The composition of the painting draws our attention to the mahogany table on which we see the figures of a chess set, a game fashionable at that time. The match would seem to have a certain symbolism, with just the two kings remaining on the board, symbolising a draw between the couple. The work was very modern for the period, as characterised by the use of lively colours, the refinement of the materials and the décor.

Artwork Details

Artist: Francis Cotes
Title: Portrait of William and Penelope Welby Playing Chess
Geography: United Kingdom
Date: 1769

Medium: oil on canvas

Classification: graphic arts (drawing, painting, engraving, calligraphy)
Dimensions: 135 x 152 cm
Inventory number: LAD 2013.007
Contact for images: [email protected]


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