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Walsh painted 'The Dinner Party' in the last decade of his life. It is one of his most complex works. The sitters, who would never have met all at the same time, are people from all periods of his life. They include his neighbour, solicitor, ex-wife, partner, bank manager and friends. There are 23 figures in total including Walsh himself, who appears twice. ‘The Dinner Party’ is widely regarded as one of Walsh’s best paintings. In its composition, the concept of the picture owes a great deal to the Walker Art Gallery’s masterpiece by Millais, ‘Isabella’. The painting was more carefully planned than much of his earlier work. Photographs exist of the canvas at various stages of completion with the artist's profile photographs of the sitters pinned down the left edge of the work showing that Walsh had worked on the heads first, successively from the left.
The Dinner Party
oil on canvas
H 152.5 x W 152.5 cm
accepted under the Cultural Gifts Scheme by HM Government and allocated to the Walker Art Gallery, 2014
WALSH. June - October '80.