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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

One Prolific Painter

Art historians are trying to spot the face of Mary Alford in the works of Victorian painter William Powell Frith. Photographs of Mary—Frith's longtime mistress—were made public only yesterday.

An upmarket version of the picture book game Where's Wally? is to be found in checking masterpieces such as Derby Day and The Railway Station, using two grainy images of Mary which make their public debut today. One shows the dimpled, round-faced Mary on an undercover picnic with Frith; the second is a family group after the death of his first wife, when he finally made Mary what the Victorians called "a respectable woman".

The pictures have been revealed by an anonymous descendant of one of seven children Frith fathered illegitimately with Mary, while maintaining his official family, including another 12 children, a mile up the road. [Link]

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