Henry Knight of Tythegston (1738-1772) with his three children
ZOFFANY, Johann (1733 - 1810)
Date: 1770 c.
Media: oil on canvas
Size: 240.5 x 149.0 cm
Acquired: 1999; Purchase; with assistance of Art Fund / National Heritage Lottery Fund / Estate of Miss June Tiley
Accession Number: NMW A 13702
Zoffany was born in Germany, and studied in Rome before moving to London in 1760. He became one of George III's favourite painters and was nominated a founder member of the Royal Academy by the King. His reputation was at its height in 1770. Henry Knight (1738-72) of Tythegston in Glamorganshire, became a captain in the 70th Foot in 1762. He also probably served in the 15th Light Dragoons, as his elder son depicts here trying on a helmet of that regiment, inscribed with its battle honour Emsdorf. Knight's wife Catherine left him in 1769, and he is depicted here with his sons Henry and Robert, and his daughter Etheldra. The seaside setting presumably alludes to the location of Tythegston, a couple of miles from the coast, between Bridgend and Porthcawl. The tree motif, frequently used in Zoffany's group portraits, gives all the figures equal prominence. This monumental family group is in remarkably good condition and powerfully evokes the wealth and sophistication of the South Wales gentry in the mid eighteenth century.