- Extended Catalogue Entry
by George Arnald
oil on canvas, 1831
29 1/2 in. x 24 1/2 in. (749 mm x 622 mm)
Given by Montague Bernard, 1979
Sitterback to top
- George Arnald (1763-1841), Marine and landscape painter. Sitter in 2 portraits, Artist of 1 portrait.
Artistback to top
- George Arnald (1763-1841), Marine and landscape painter. Artist of 1 portrait, Sitter in 2 portraits.
This portraitback to top
In this distinctive self-portrait the landscape painter George Arnald has depicted himself in his studio. He is seated before his easel, his palette and mahlstick (used to steady the hand and keep it away from areas of wet paint) in hand, and wears fashionable dress. The rows of weighty volumes on the shelves to the left suggest that the artist is a scholar as well as a man of fashion. Arnald carefully composed his self-portrait so that he appears to be seated before a romantic landscape; the view is in fact one of his own paintings, The Castle of Gloom, which hangs on the far wall of his studio.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Rideal, Liz, Insights: Self-portraits, 2005, p. 27 Read entry
Reflections play a complex role in this self-portrait. The viewer’s eyes are drawn from Arnald’s painting on the easel to the view of a romantic landscape, apparently seen out of the window; but the view is actually his own painting Castle of Gloom of 1814, inspired by Nicholas Poussin (1594-1665). Arnald is at work on a smaller version, further confusing our perceptions with this double trompe l’oeil. The unseen mirror suggests a false reality, and the artist manipulates our response to his ‘reality’.
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 18
- Walker, Richard, Regency Portraits, 1985, p. 12
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1831back to top
Current affairsParliamentary Reform Bill is rejected by the House of Lords prompting riots in Nottingham, Derby and Bristol.
Art and scienceMichael Faraday demonstrates electromagnetic induction.
Death of Lady Sarah Ponsonby, last of the famous Ladies of Llangollen who attracted many of the leading names in art and literature to visit them at their home in Plas Newydd, Wales.
Opening of New London Bridge, designed by John Rennie.
InternationalViolinist Niccolo Paganini arrives in England from Italy and embarks on a six month tour of the country after astonishing London audiences with his virtuoso performances.
Revolutionary outbreaks in Modena, Parma and the Papal States influenced by the July Revolution in France the previous year.
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