The Copy Cat

Coming March 2020

The Frame-Up Characters and Locales: The Party-Goers


And a good time was had by all…


Philippe Mercier (French, 1689-1760)
Bacchanalian piece: Sir Thomas Samwell and Friends, c. 1733
oil on canvas


Imagine you were at a three-hundred-year-long party.


If you can do that (I can’t!), you can imagine the conviviality that exudes from this painting.

These gentlemen always remind me of the folks you see on a pontoon boat in the summer. They are here for a good time, not a long time. But alas, these fellows have been hanging out together for a LONG time…

Since imagining the world behind the frame these past years, I’ve been obsessed with what the lives of the residents are really like.

Is Sir Thomas Samwell regretting posing with his friends? Does he ever wish they’d go home? Do they simply slide under the table at some point in the evening, or does the “magical” elixir have no impact after all these years?

What I do know is that these gentlemen are lovely.

On the far left is Sir Thomas Samwell, then John Neal, Captain John Floyd, William Wilmer, William Piers, and Caesar, who started out as Sir Thomas’ servant, but after about six months in the painting, became everyone’s friend and now sits at the table. Last but not least, is General Louis deJean, who everyone calls the guitar general.

Mona likes everyone in this painting, but cannot keep the two Williams straight! Still, she trusts them with her philosophical questions:

Some with to interact with those outside the frame,” Caesar said, taking a melancholy sip of wine.  “We come into our paintings with our original souls and memories, but sometimes it does not seem enough. I miss the real world at times. Alas, it is impossible to return.”

“Do you not think Max is able to do it?” Mona asked. She’d often wondered how he knew everything that was going on at the Beaverbrook.

Caesar shook his head. “Max is larger than life, but he is not larger than his painting. No one can leave his painting.”


One thing you may have noticed amongst the older paintings are that almost none of them contain people of colour.

That’s because only rich people could afford to have their portraits painted.

It’s important to realize that up until a certain point in history, art galleries represented a white perspective on the world. That is changing now, which makes art galleries like the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, more interesting places to live for their residents.


Author of Children's Literature