Preparing for a Fancy Dress Ball (Charlotte and Mary Williams-Wynn) by William Etty

York Art Gallery has the largest holding of works by the York born artist William Etty in any UK public collection.


Oil on canvas
150.8 x 128.8 cm
Art Fund grant:
£40,000 ( Total: £120,000)
Acquired in:
Private collection

This work shows a new aspect of his portraiture. The majority of Etty's portraits depict friends or associates of the artist but this portrait was commissioned by an upper class patron, Charles Watkin Williams-Wynn MP, and is one of only a handful of society portraits painted by the artist. It depicts two of the patron's five daughters; the standing figure holds a ribbon and turns towards the viewer, as if she has been interrupted whilst making the final preparations to her sister's costume.


Commissioned by Charles Watkin Williams-Wynn; thence by decent to Mrs Lewis Motley; Christie’s, 1982; private collection; through Tomasso Brothers.

Venue details

York Art Gallery Exhibition Square, YORK North Yorkshire YO1 7EW 01904 687687

Entry details

Free with National Art Pass (standard entry £6.82)

Monday - Sunday 10am - 5pm