This oil painting is being shown in the Museum at the time of writing.

The picture is a portrait of the five children of Thomas Bateson, painted in the drawing-room at their family home of Orangefield located in modern-day east Belfast.

Bateson was born in Lancashire in 1705 and moved to Belfast in the early 18th century. He was a wine merchant, trading in rum from the West Indies and wine from Europe. He also helped establish Belfast’s first bank and was a founding member of the Belfast Charitable Society.

Strickland Lowry was an English artist. Born in 1737 in Cumbria, he became an established portrait and landscape painter.

Lowry painted the Bateson children in 1762. The picture aims to convey the family’s status, wealth and standing in Belfast.

In the background are pictures of contemporary Belfast and Orangefield along with portraits of Queen Charlotte and King George III.

The picture portrays the children in typical poses for the time. The girls are dressed in pretty dresses and hold a sheet of music and flowers suggesting they are accomplished and following pursuits prescribed for girls of their rank and station. The boys are featured with a globe that may indicate a future career in travel and business.

The painting style is devoid of emotion by modern standards; the five children look expressionlessly at the viewer displaying no hint of sentiment or character.