Ben's mum had no interest in these ancient relatives by marriage, and we thought we'd have a go at giving them a home. To be honest, they are quite hard work. Hung on a wall, they are very sombre and serious, and tend to intimidate any room where we put them.
I decided to give them another chance a few weeks ago, and propped them on two small cabinets on our upstairs landing.
Here is Uncle Joshua. I gave him a few 'props', such as an antique telescope in a box on the right, and another little wooden box which contains a few vintage travel tickets. I couldn't resist putting his bow tie, or a reasonable facsimile, in the horn cup, although I think this is verging on the twee.
Aunt Selina was very much easier to accessorise! I brought out some of my lace, which hasn't been displayed for quite a while, and a few bits of jewellery which look vaguely like the two brooches she is wearing in the picture.
Now, it is agreed by casual viewers and experts alike that the portrait of Joshua is much better quality than that of his wife. Ben's dad takes the cynical view that old Joshua spent more money on a better portrait of himself. I've thought of a second possibility, however: is it possible that Joshua treasured his wife so much that he paid to have her portrait painted first, and then waited until he was older and had saved up a second time for his own portrait? Of course, there is no way of telling which was painted first, as the two portraits don't appear markedly different in age or style. But maybe the romantic option is the real one...