Thomas Musgrove Joy

British, b.1812, d.1866

Mrs T Fraser Grove With A Favourite Dog

  • 1849
  • Oil on canvas
  • Purchased, 1976
  • 1440 x 1180 x 65mm
  • 76/16

From aristocratic Irish lineage, Dublin-born Katherine O’Grady (later Lady Grove) was married at eighteen to Thomas Fraser Grove, a landowning Wiltshire magistrate, in 1847. By 1849, when this portrait was exhibited in London, they had one daughter. The painter’s own status as a member of the landed gentry attracted many eminent patrons including Queen Victoria, who commissioned portraits, mainly of her dogs.

(Out of Time, 23 September 2023 – 28 April 2024)

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • The subject of this portrait is Mrs Katherine Grace Fraser Grove. She was the second daughter of Hon. Waller O’Grady, Q.C. and the granddaughter of Viscount Guillamore. Thomas Musgrove Joy has painted a typical Victorian academic portrait of a member of the English nobility where the sitter's wealth and social status is the predominant message. Emphasis has been placed on the sumptuous white dress and the textures of the fine muslins, lace and satin ribbons. The heavy gold jewellery and the large gems in her rings and necklace were probably modelled on family heirlooms. Joy was born in Boughton Monchelsea, Kent, England, into the landed gentry. He studied under Samuel Drummond ARA. Based in London he began exhibiting at the Royal Academy in 1831. He was a well-respected and successful portrait painter of Victorian England’s high society. Lord Panmure was one of his patrons and he was commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1841 to paint portraits of the Prince and Princess of Wales.

    (Label datye unknown)

    Thomas Joy was a Royal Academician and a highly successful Victorian portrait painter who enjoyed a fine reputation for his society portraits. In 1841 he was commissioned by Queen Victoria to paint members of her family.

    This portrait was exhibited at the Royal Academy in London in 1849 and is typical of the lively composition and animated poses Joy often achieved with his sitters. Emphasis has been placed on the sumptuous white dress and jewelery Mrs Fraser Grove is wearing, revealing her to be a woman of wealth and perhaps status in society. The fine fabrics, skin tones and landscape elements all display the considerable skill of this painter.

    The inclusion of dogs in these portraits had been a tradition in England since the early 16th century, but it was much favoured in Victorian times and gained considerable popularity through the contemporary works of Edward Landseer. (Opening Gallery hang, 2003)