|Stothard was an immensely popular and prolific artist. After training at the Royal Academy Schools he worked extensively on illustrations for works such as Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa, Oliver Goldsmith’s The Vicar of Wakefield and John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. He also contributed history paintings to Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery and Macklin’s Poets’ Gallery. He was Librarian at the Royal Academy from 1814 until his death.|
This work depicts Charity, one of the three theological virtues in Christianity, the others being Faith and Hope. Charity is portrayed as a benevolent female accompanied by three small children. In this painting the influence of Raphael is demonstrated through the depiction of a gentle Madonna-like female, cherubic infants, the classic triangular composition of the figures, as well as the use of sfumato.