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Mr and Mrs William Hallett ('The Morning Walk')

Photo credit: The National Gallery, London

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Gainsborough painted this portrait of William Hallett (1764–1842) and Elizabeth Stephen (1764–1833) shortly before their marriage on 30 July 1785. The couple are shown arm-in-arm on a morning walk with a Pomeranian sheepdog. The style of the portrait draws on the work of earlier painters Watteau and Van Dyck, and has a delicate poetic quality largely achieved through Gainsborough’s light, feathery brushwork, which is typical of his late style. Bride and groom were both 21 when they married, and may be wearing their wedding clothes. Some have seen the portrait as a universal statement about wedded bliss and Hallett’s will records that he lived with Elizabeth ‘most happily for nearly 48 years’. However, Elizabeth’s life can't have been easy as betting and gambling were to be her husband’s downfall.

The National Gallery, London



Mr and Mrs William Hallett ('The Morning Walk')




Oil on canvas


H 236.2 x W 179.1 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Bought with a contribution from The Art Fund (Sir Robert Witt Fund), 1954

Work type



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The National Gallery, London

Trafalgar Square, London, Greater London WC2N 5DN England

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