Johan Zoffany, “The Sharp Family,” 1779–81, oil on canvas
The Sharp Family, afloat on a barge called Apollo with Fulham Old Church in the distance, is so exuberant as to be barely credible. It is a pyramid, a heap of humanity, each subject beautifully and elaborately dressed and exhibiting a solemn concentration on the music to come. Horns, harpsichord and cello are all at hand ready to be brought into play, and the scene is further enlivened by a baby holding a remarkably calm kitten.
Zoffany excelled at the group portrait, the conversation piece.
By Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London, and the Lloyd-Baker Trustees