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Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), Painter and first President of the Royal Academy

Painter, first President of the Royal Academy 1768; FRS 1761; Kt 1769; DCL Oxford 1773; ‘so easy, so uniformly cheerful, so willing to please and be pleased, so fond of the company of literary men, so well read in mankind, so curious an observer of character’ (Malone; Prior 1860, p 190).

‘[I have had] an odd accident ... a fall from a horse down a precipice, which cut my face ... my lips are now spoiled for kissing for my upper lip is so bruised that a great part was cut off’ (Joshua Reynolds, 1749).

‘His appearance at first sight impressed the spectator with the idea of a well-born and well-bred English gentleman’ (Edmund Malone, 1797).

‘In his stature, Sir Joshua was rather under the middle size. He was in height nearly five feet six inches, of a florid complexion, roundish blunt features, and a lively pleasing aspect; not corpulent, though somewhat inclined to it, but extremely active’ (Joseph Farington, 1819).


This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, National Portrait Gallery, 2004, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.