Painter/Artist: Sir Joshua Reynolds

British School. Studied for three years in Italy. The first President of the Royal Academy.

* The pictures marked with an asterisk are not included in the new catalogue of the National Gallery, having been removed to the Tate Gallery.


THE HOLY FAMILY In the foreground of a wooded landscape the Virgin is seated on the right by a stone pedestal holding the Child. On the left is St. Joseph, also seated. Before them, on the left, stands the young St. John holding the standard of the Lamb.

Painted about 1788 to afford a design for a frontispiece to the New Testament in Maclain’s Bible.

Presented by the Directors of the British Institution in 1829.

THE GRACES DECORATING A FIGURE OF HYMEN A portrait group of Barbara, Elizabeth, and Anne, daughters of Sir William Montgomery. They are grouped under some trees holding a long garland of flowers with which they are about to wreathe a terminal statue of Hymen. To the left is Barbara, kneeling as she takes some flowers from a basket; in the centre Elizabeth, stooping; and on the right Anne, standing, holding up the wreath in both hands.

Painted in 1773. Exhibited R.A. 1774.

Bequeathed by the Earl of Blessinbton, who was son of the Hon. Mrs. Gardiner (Elizabeth).

PORTRAIT OF LORD HEATIFIELD Three-quarter length, turned slightly to left, in scarlet coat, holding the key of the Fortress of Gibraltar in his right hand. In the background a view of the Rock, with the smoke of artillery, commemorating its defence by Lord Heathfield (then Lieut.-General Eliott) in 1779-83.

Painted in 1787 for Alderman Boydell. Exhibited R.A. 1788.

Purchased with the Anberstein Collection in 1824.

THE INFANT SAMUEL A child in his nightdress kneeling at the foot of his bed, almost in profile to the left. In the back,round to the right is a column.

Painted c. 1776.

A slightly different version is at Dulwich (No. 2z3). Farnborough Bequest, 1838,

HEADS OF ANGELS Five cherub heads in different positions against a background of sky. Painted in 1787 from Frances Isabella, the five-year-old daughter of Lord William Gordon.

Exhibited R.A. 1787.

Presented by Lady William Gordon in 1841.

THE AGE OF INNOCENCE A girl of five or six years old in a white frock sitting on the ground under a group of birch-trees on the left with her hands crossed on her breast, her head in profile to the right, her bare feet peeping beneath her frock towards the left.

Robert Vernon Gift, 1847

THE SNAKE IN THE GRASS Or “Love unbinding the Zone of Beauty.” A girl, at three-quarter length, seated on a bank sporting with Cupid, who has seized both ends of her sash and is untying it. On the grass at her side in the right foreground is seen the head of a snake. A red curtain in the background.

Painted in 1788 for Lord Carysfort. There are repetitions of different dimensions in the Soane Museum and at the Hermitage, Petrograd (NO- 1390).

Purchased with the Peel Collection in 1871.

PORTRAIT OF ADMIRAL KEPPEL Three-quarter length, facing slightly to the right, in claret-coloured suit, his right hand resting on his sheathed sword, his left on his hip. Sea background. Reynolds considered this “one of his most perfect pictures.” Painted in 1780 for Lord Erskine, at that time Keppel’s counsel. Purchased with the Peel Collection in 1871.

PORTRAIT OF DR. JOHNSON Bust length, nearly full face. In powdered wig and wearing a brown suit, showing the left hand.

Purchased with the Peel Collection in 1871.

ROBINETTA Half length, full face. A girl with a robin perched on her right shoulder, sitting with her left arm resting on its cage.

Painted c. 1786 as a study of the Hon. Mrs. Tollemache.

Purchased with the Peel Collection in 1871.

LADY COCKBURN AND HER CHILDREN A young mother with dark hair done up high on her head, sitting with her back against a stone parapet, over which a crimson curtain is looped up to the left. She leans slightly to her right, turning her head towards the eldest of three children, who kneel back on her knee supported by her right hand. Her left clasps the youngest, who lies in her lap, while over her left shoulder the second peeps, his left arm being round her neck. On the right of the picture a red and blue parrot is perched at the base of a pillar on the parapet, and beneath the curtain are seen some trees and the sky. Lady Cockburn wears an amber-coloured mantle edged with white fur over a white dress with the bodice open at the throat. The children are naked.

Along the border of the mantle may be read ” 1773, J. Reynolds pinxit.” Reynolds seldom signed his portraits, and on this occasion is reported to have said, ” I shall be handed down to posterity on the hem of your Ladyship’s garment.”

Bequeathed by Mr. Alfred Beit in 1906.

CATHERINE, LADY BAMFYLDE Full length, standing facing us in a garden, looking towards the left, her right arm on a parapet. She is in a long, pale yellow dress, with gauze scarf round her shoulders.

Exhibited R.A. 1777.

Bequeathed by Mr. Alfred de Rothschild.


MRS. RICHARD HOARE AND CHILD Whole length, seated under a tree facing us, the head in profile to left, looking down at her infant son, who lies in her lap looking up at her. Her right hand is under his head, her left on his breast. She is in a full dress, cut low round the neck.

Painted c. 1783.

MRS. CARNAC Whole length, standing facing us, the head turned to the right, against a background of tall trees. Her right hand hangs at her side, her left is hidden under the voluminous folds of her ” over-skirt,” the elbow bent. Her dress is cut low in front, with full sleeves and trailing skirt. Her hair is done high on her head and surmounted by ostrich feathers.

Engraved by J. R. Smith, 1778.

MISS B0WLES AND HER DOG A plump, ruddy child of seven or eight years old in her best frock, sitting on the ground in a wood facing us, with her arms clasped tightly round the neck of a spaniel puppy at her left side. She looks at us with wide-open eye:; and a half smile of immense delight.

Painted in 1775 or 1776.

NELLY O’BRIEN Nearly whole length, seated facing us against a garden background, the eye’s meeting ours. She has a little curly dog in her lap, her right arm and head lying on her knee in front of it. She is in a pale pink quilted gown, and has a black lace shawl over her shoulders, and broad-brimmed straw hat. The sunlight falls from high up on the left.

Painted between 1760 and 1767, possibly for Lord Bolingbroke.

“A tour de force of the utmost skill after the manner of Rubens’s Chapeau de Paille; for here also the head is in shadow, with strong reflected sunny light. ” (Waagen.)

THE STRAWBERRY GIRL Three-quarter length. A little girl standing slightly to the right against a woody background with her hands crossed over her waist. Reynolds spoke of this simple picture as “one of the half-dozen original things” which no man exceeded in his life’s work.

Painted and exhibited R.A. 1773.

Purchased at the sale of Samuel Rogers, the poet, in 1856 for £2,205.


MRS. SIDDONS AS THE TRAGIC MUSE In, Whole length, seated fronting us in a chair with arms, looking upwards to the left. The arms rest on the arms of the chair, the left by the elbow only, the hand being raised as though listening to some inspiring voice. She wears an amber-brown dress with the white sleeves of an under-dress showing, and a dark olive velvet cloak enveloping the knees. Her feet are on a footstool, which rests on a foreground of clouds. Behind the chair on either side are two dim figures full face, symbolising Tragedy and Comedy.

Signed on the hem of the robe, and dated 1789.

There is a conflict of testimony as to whether this or the version at Grosvenor House is the original.