This work was a joint purchase by Gainsborough's House and Tate.

At one time it was suggested that the seated figure playing a flute was Gainsborough himself. It is now known to be a portrait of the artist and amateur musician William Keable, who specialised in small conversation-piece portraits. The connection between Keable and the other sitters (brothers-in-law from the Muilman family of successful businessmen) is not clear, but may be intended to represent the acceptance of businessmen among the gentry. This work was acquired with assistance from the Wolfson Foundation.


Commissioned by Henry & Peter Muilmam (?); by descent to Anne Crokatt; by descent toEmilia Boucherette; by descent to Ayscough Boucherette; by descent to Mary barne; by descent to Miles Barne; Sotheby's, London, 14/7/93, lot 49.

Back to top