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Frances (Woodis) Borlase, later Frances Grenfell, and Pascoe George Norman Grenfell

Date: ca.1804
93 7/8 x 58 in. (238.4 x 147.3 cm.)
Medium: oil on canvas
Credit Line: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Object Number: 20.4
Label Text:Frances Borlase is presented in an alluring manner that seems to belie her role as a mother. Gazing out from beneath the shadows of her curling hair and enveloping scarf, she establishes an intimate rapport with the viewer. In painting his sitter’s lips parted slightly to reveal a subtle flash of white teeth, the artist makes a striking break with established portrait conventions. The relaxation of propriety may relate to the unusual circumstances of this commission. Shee’s patron was most likely William Grenfell, the father of three of Frances Borlase’s children, but not yet her husband. Shee focuses on Grenfell’s future wife’s beauty instead of her unconventional family arrangements.