A Matter of Taste: How artistic representations of family structure have been shaped at the Yale Center for British Art

A Matter of Taste is an online exhibition focusing on the representation of families at the Yale Center for British Art, and how this has been shaped by the Paul Mellon collection.

The exhibition has been curated by three MA students from the University of Leeds, using resources from the Yale Center for British Art.

Through A Matter of Taste, we aim to explore the way in which family structures have been presented in the Paul Mellon Collection, and to discuss how the artistic preferences of this collector have impacted representation in a major institution. The works displayed have been donated by Paul Mellon, along with two loan pieces from other organisations.

Focusing on depictions of families in art, A Matter of Taste, follows three themes:

  • families as a group, which hopes to demonstrate the tie between family life and social life;

  • family relationships, which highlights the role of gender and power within pairs in the family;

  • alternative family structures, which aims to show the different interpretations of family structure within the collection.

We invite you to view this exhibition and to consider your own experiences of family structure, whilst reflecting on the impact of collectors in art institutions.

Visit the online exhibition

A  Matter of Taste is part of a wider series of exhibitions and projects undertaken by MA students from the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies as part of an Interpretations course module.


George Chinnery, 1774–1852, British, A Family Group Around a Piano, between 1812 and 1815. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection.