Portrait of Rev. John Twells
Francis Alleyne (British, 1750 – 1815)
MediumOil on canvas
DimensionsCanvas : 17 1/4 x 14 in. (43.82 x 35.56 cm)
Frame : 24 x 21 in. (60.96 x 53.34 cm)
Credit LineGift of Dr. Stephan Winton
LabelReverend John Twells was the rector of Caston parish in Norfolk, England from 1768 to 1803. This portrait and its pair (1991.1.12) depict John Twells and his wife Ann wearing luxurious silk clothing and fashionable hair styles, making them appear more like landed gentry than a middle-class clergy couple. The paintings were formerly attributed to Johan Zoffany, a German-born artist who became an important society portraitist after he moved to England in 1760. Zoffany’s clients included the British royal family and other members of elite London society and it is unclear how a provincial couple like the Twells could have engaged Zoffany to paint their portraits. Based on stylistic evidence it seems more likely that the portraits were painted by Francis Alleyne (1750-1815), an itinerant artist who traveled around southeastern England painting portraits for local gentry families in the second half of the 18th century.