Before you read about these two ladies below, have a guess a how their surname is pronounces....the answer is at the bottom of the blog.
The painting is known as The Cholmondeley Ladies and is an oil on wood, dated around 1600 - 1610 by an anonymous artist, presented to the Tate Gallery by an anonymous benefactor in 1955. Paintings such as this were popular through the Elizabethan and Stuart eras. The Cholmondeley family had held the lordship of Cholmondeley in Cheshire since the Norman Conquests and on this land still stands the eighteenth century Cholmondeley Castle in which this family still live. The sixth Marquess died at the castle in 1990 and it is the Dowager Marchioness, who is ninety two, who now lives there. This painting formed part of the collection of Thomas Cholmondeley, and a quick glance at the women they look identical, it has been suggested that the portrait is of twins, each holding a swaddled baby. The inscription at the bottom left of the painting, says 'Two Ladies of the Cholmondeley Family, who were born the same day, married the same day, and brought to bed the same day.' This also suggests that they are identical twins but on further inspection of the women eyes you will find that they are of differing colours. It may be that these women are unidentical twins or married into the Cholmondeley family but it is more than likely that they are daughters or nieces of Sir Hugh and Lady Mary Cholmondeley, who had eight children.
The ladies identities are unknown.