Revd Matthew William Peters, R.A. 1742 - 1814
Photo: R.A./Prudence Cuming Associates Limited
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Children, 1777
Oil on canvas, 642 X 782 X 25 mm
Diploma Work given by Revd Matthew William Peters, R.A., accepted 1777
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Peters was brought up in Dublin and studied at the first School of Design there before becoming a pupil of Thomas Hudson. He studied in Rome from 1762 until 1764 and again travelled to Italy and France in the 1770s and early 1780s. He exhibited frequently at the Society of Artists and the Royal Academy, including some slightly risqué subjects such as Lydia (Tate), a revealing portrait of a woman in bed with bare breasts. Despite this he became an ordained priest in 1782 and was chaplain to the Royal Academy from 1784–88.
This painting does not depict innocent children. Instead knowing looks are exchanged between the boy and girl, and a mood of heightened sexuality is created by the abundance of fruit and flowers and the rich colouring reminiscent of the Venetian School of painting which Peters greatly admired.

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