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Sisterly duty: The Painter’s Daughters, by Emily Howes, reviewed

In a celebrated portrait of his daughters, Thomas Gainsborough shows the older child protecting her sister from harm. The roles would be dramatically reversed in later life

24 February 2024

9:00 AM

24 February 2024

9:00 AM

The Painter’s Daughters Emily Howes

Phoenix, pp.371, 16.99

The painter in the title of Emily Howes’s first novel is Thomas Gainsborough, famous, of course, as a great portraitist – ‘the curs’d face business’, as he once called it – and landscape artist. His daughters by his wife Margaret were Molly and Peggy, immortalised in half a dozen double canvases by their father.

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