Boy with Parrot

  • About the work
    Location
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall

    Neither the artist nor sitter of this early 18th-century portrait, showing a boy feeding an African Grey parrot, are known.

    The Age of Exploration of the late 15th and 16th centuries saw parrots from India, Africa, the Americas and the Far East being imported into Europe. These exotic birds were popular pets, particularly among wealthy classes. From the mid-16th century they are seen in European visual arts as the beautiful, rare companions of wealthy owners. They are prevalent in British portraiture of the late-17th and early 18th centuries; featuring as both pampered pets and status symbols, as demonstrated by this example. British-based portraitists, including Peter Lely, Godfrey Kneller and Michael Dahl included parrots in some of their works, while Joshua Reynolds is known to have owned the macaw seen in a selection of his portraits.

  • Explore
    People
    unknown boy
    Places
    Materials & Techniques
    canvas, oil, oil painting
  • Details
    Title
    Boy with Parrot
    Date
    c.1720
    Medium
    Oil on canvas
    Dimensions
    height: 52.80 cm, width: 43.20 cm
    Acquisition
    Purchased from E & H Thompson, Carlisle, October 1952
    Inscription
    none
    Provenance
    Lord Shrewsbury[?]; collection of Sir Stephen Aitchison, Lemmington Hall; purchased from E & H Thompson, Carlisle 1952
    GAC number
    1886