In this tender portrait of his first wife and their eldest daughter, Gunn has elevated an intimate family moment to the status of 'Grand Manner' portraiture. Here, Diana shyly glances out at the viewer, clutching her mother's dress for comfort whilst Gwen's tender gaze offers her that protection.
Gunn married Gwendoline Hillman, the widow of Captain Guy Thorne on 9 January 1919, and their first child was born two years later. The couple had three daughters, Diana, Elizabeth and Pauline who, along with their mother, often modelled for Gunn's paintings in the early 1920s. Sadly, the marriage was to prove unhappy and in 1927 the couple divorced. After their mother's remarriage to Sir Arthur Whinney the girls saw very little of their father until they reached adulthood, something which affected Gunn very deeply, and indeed it was many years before the children from his second marriage to Pauline Miller discovered the existence of these half-sisters.
We are grateful to the artist's daughter, Chloe Gunn Blackburn, for her assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.