Sir William Quiller Orchardson

The Artist's Wife (Ellen Moxon, Lady Orchardson, 1853 - 1917) (Dated 1872)

About this artwork

Ellen Moxon married William Quiller Orchardson on 6 April 1873. This portrait of her is dated 1872, therefore just predating their marriage. The portrait remained in her possession until her death in 1917, and was presumably a cherished reminder of her marriage. The couple went on to have four sons and two daughters. His wife was once again celebrated in paint in ‘Master Baby’ of 1886 (NG 1138), which shows Ellen playing with their young son Gordon.

Sir William Quiller Orchardson

Sir William Quiller Orchardson

Orchardson was an outstanding narrative painter, who deftly used body language and expression, as well as descriptive detail, to communicate feelings and mood. He was also a gifted portraitist. As a mature student of the Trustees' Academy in Edinburgh, he joined other talented students of Robert Scott Lauder, with whom he formed life-long and mutually inspiring friendships. In 1862 he moved to London where he shared a house and studio with fellow student John Pettie. His large, meticulous paintings of historical and contemporary subjects were much admired. In 1877 he was elected a Royal Academician and in 1907 knighted.