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Talking Heads

Portrait of Mrs Catherine Smith Gill and two of her children

James Tissot, 1877

Who are you?
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I'm Mrs Catherine Smith Gill and this is my son Robert and daughter Helen. Our little dog Mabel follows them everywhere.

You look very contented. Are you having a good day?
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Yes, I've been trying to catch up with my correspondence today while the children have been playing and climbing trees. The nanny was running around after them and only just managed to get them cleaned up in time to sit for this painting. An hour ago they both had muddy knees!

Where are you?
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At home in our beautiful house in Woolton, Liverpool. I spend a lot of my time in this room as I can see the garden and can keep an eye on this mischievous pair. Oh Helen, you're sitting with your shoe on my best dress!

What are you going to do next?
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I'm going to take some late afternoon tea here with my closest friends. I want to catch up with all the gossip about some of the other ladies we know in Liverpool.

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