Alex Kidson is Curator of British Art at the Walker Art Gallery.
280 x 240mm , 256 pages
216 illustrations, 146 in colour
ISBN 1 85514 334 8
Special online promotion £6 (RRP £25 paperback)
ISBN 1 85514 501 4
Special online promotion £10 (RRP £40 hardback - exclusive to Walker Art Gallery and NPG)
Out of print
George Romney 1734-1802
'Beautifully written ... wonderfully informative'
The year 2002 marks the bicentenary of the death of George Romney, one of the key figures in British art in the late eighteenth century. A chief rival of Sir Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough - and for much of his career more fashionable than both - he was known both as a portraitist and as a draftsman. His countless studies for literary and mythological pictures, made in private moments but which he never had time to paint, are executed in a bold, spontaneous style that mark him as one of the first Romantics.
One hundred years ago Romney's reputation was at its peak. Collectors fought to obtain his portraits of fresh-faced English women, above all his portraits of Emma Hart, later Lady Hamilton, who in her youth was Romney's favourite model and with whom he was widely supposed to have had an affair. As the more snobbish and sexist aspects of Edwardian taste became outdated, Romney's art fell spectacularly from favour. His career remains little understood and many of his best-known works are among his least distinguished. He both drew and painted with magnificent freedom and with a dramatic expressiveness unmatched in British portraiture of his day. Even late in life, as overwork and disenchantment sapped his enthusiasm, Romney was able to rekindle his energies for special sitters and when working on his occasionally sublime literary and historical paintings. This book will be the first to give a fully rounded overview of his career.
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