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The Shudi Family Group

2 of 3 portraits on display on Floor 1: Family Matters at Beningbrough Hall

The Shudi Family Group, by Marcus Tuscher, circa 1742 - NPG 5776 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

The Shudi Family Group

by Marcus Tuscher
oil on canvas, circa 1742
32 3/4 in. x 55 3/4 in. (834 mm x 1415 mm)
Purchased with help from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, 1985
Primary Collection
NPG 5776


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Burkat Shudi, one of the leading London harpsichord makers of the eighteenth century, is shown with his wife Catherine and their two young sons, Joshua and Burkat. He is tuning a harpsichord which is said to have been made for Frederick the Great of Prussia. Of Swiss origin, Shudi settled in London in 1718 and founded the firm which later became Broadwoods, makers of pianos. This portrait shows him with his wife Catherine and their two sons: six-year old Joshua, wearing a blue frock-coat, and Burkat, aged five, still in his baby-clothes. The composition and props in this informal 'conversation piece' indicate the family's taste and prosperity. Probably painted around 1742, this portrait celebrates the family's recent inheritance - the paper Catherine holds is thought to be a copy of her father's will.

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Events of 1742back to top

Current affairs

Robert Walpole resigns as Prime Minister following the scandal surrounding the alleged rigging of the Chippenham by-election. He is made 1st Earl of Orford. Carteret administration formed with Spencer Compton, 1st Earl of Wilmington as Prime Minister.

Art and science

Composer George Frideric Handel's Messiah is first performed at The Great Music Hall in Dublin. Ranelagh Gardens opens in Chelsea. Writer Edmond Hoyle publishes the definitive rules of whist. James Bradley succeeds Edmond Halley as Astronomer Royal. Painter Charles Jervas' translation of Don Quixote is posthumously published.

International

War of the Austrian Succession: Treaty of Berlin, mediated by Britain, is signed by Maria Theresa of Austria and Frederick II of Prussia, ending the First Silesian War. George II acts as guarantor. Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius proposes 100 degrees between the freezing and boiling points of water.

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