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Conversation Piece (Portrait of James Grant of Grant, John Mytton, the Honorable Thomas Robinson, and Thomas Wynne)

Three other versions, for the various sitters, are in the collection of the Earl of Seafield, Cullen, Banffshire; the Yale Center for British Art (B1976.7.19); and the collection of Lady Lucas.

Nathaniel Dance, English, 1735 - 1811

Made in Great Britain, Europe

1760 or 1761

Oil on canvas

37 7/8 x 48 1/2 inches (96.2 x 123.2 cm) Framed: 45 x 55 1/4 x 2 3/4 inches (114.3 x 140.3 x 7 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 379, European Art 1500-1850, third floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of John Howard McFadden, Jr., 1946

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A conversation piece is an informal group portrait, often depicting friends. This is one of four almost identical canvases painted in 1760–61, one for each of the four sitters. With the ruins of the Colosseum plainly visible in the background, the picture records the young men's trip to Rome. Known as the Grand Tour, such travel was a standard part of the education of eighteenth-century English gentlemen.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.