Yes, we can reveal that Manchester Art Gallery has Prudence, Fortitude and Justice, but of the four ‘cardinal’ virtues, we are missing Temperance.
This is a reattribution story: three paintings in the collection previously thought to be by British artist (Hogarth’s father-in-law) James Thornhill (1635-1734) are now recorded under the name of Louis Chéron (1660-1725).
The three paintings have recently returned from a loan to the Musée des Beaux Arts in Caen, Normandy, where they were the culmination of an exhibition curated by art historian François Marandet. Placing them alongside other works by Chéron, it clinched the argument for us at Manchester, so we have now recatalogued them. You can read the new text here.
The paintings are preparatory studies for lost ceiling paintings. It’s so unlikely that Chéron would only represent three virtues – perhaps Temperance is somewhere out there?