Glossary

Conversation Piece

This is the name given to a type of group portraiture. Works of this sort are usually small in scale and depict, relatively informally, a group of family members or friends. They are sometimes, but not necessarily, engaged in conversation. The setting can be either domestic or rural.

Such paintings were particularly favoured in England in the 18th century. Artists such as Zoffany and Gainsborough painted Conversation Pieces.

Painting
Johann Zoffany
about 1763-4
Johann Zoffany: 'Mrs Oswald'
Painting
Thomas Gainsborough
about 1750
Thomas Gainsborough: 'Mr and Mrs Andrews'