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David Garrick; Eva Maria Garrick (née Veigel)

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David Garrick; Eva Maria Garrick (née Veigel)

by Sir Joshua Reynolds
oil on canvas, 1772-1773
55 1/4 in. x 66 7/8 in. (1403 mm x 1699 mm)
Purchased, 1981
Primary Collection
NPG 5375


The Maratta frame, taking its name from the I…

Sittersback to top

Artistback to top

  • Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), Painter and first President of the Royal Academy. Artist associated with 1415 portraits, Sitter associated with 39 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Sir Joshua Reynolds was one of Garrick's close friends and painted him on several occasions. Here, he presents the famous celebrity couple in relaxed poses in their garden at Hampton. Garrick holds an open book. This may be one of his plays and included as a sign of his profession. In contrast, Eva Maria is presented as a stylish, fashionable wife in her exquisite white lace and satin outfit. She retired from the stage after marriage and Reynolds provides no visible evidence of her career as a dancer. Meanwhile Garrick's pose suggests his famous appetite for applause: he may have been reading some lines and sits back waiting for his wife's approval.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Hogarth, Reynolds, Turner : British painting and the rise of modernity, 2014, p. 192 number 46
  • Audio Guide
  • Smartify image discovery app
  • Cooper, John, Visitor's Guide, 2000, p. 59
  • Gibson, Robin, Treasures from the National Portrait Gallery, 1996, p. 65
  • Ingamells, John, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, 2004, p. 184
  • John Cooper, National Portrait Gallery Visitor's Guide, 2006, p. 59 Read entry

    Reynolds was a friend of the Garricks, and the sittings for the portrait, mostly taking place in 1772, were occasions for much gossipy conversation. David and Eva Maria were happily married from 1747 until Garrick’s death in 1779. She, by all accounts, a brilliant dancer and woman of ‘good sense and gentleness of manners’, had come to England from Vienna.

  • Perry, Gill (introduction) Roach, Joseph (appreciation) and West, Shearer (appreciation), The First Actresses: Nell Gwyn to Sarah Siddons, 2011 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 20 October 2011 to 8 January 2012), p. 100
  • Ribeiro, Aileen, The Gallery of Fashion, 2000, p. 128
  • Ribeiro, Aileen; Blackman, Cally, A Portrait of Fashion: Six Centuries of Dress at the National Portrait Gallery, 2015, p. 138
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 238
  • Schama, Simon, The Face of Britain: The Nation Through its Portraits, 2015-09-15, p. 288
  • Simon, Jacob, The Art of the Picture Frame: Artists, Patrons and the Framing of Portraits in Britain, 1997 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 8 November 1996 - 9 February 1997), p. 95, 163 Read entry

    Carved and gilt pine, mitred and keyed, the top edge water gilt on the top and right sides but regilt in oil on the bottom and left sides, the Carlo ornament applied to form the sight edge. 5 inches wide.

    It is probable that the Maratta frame on this portrait of David Garrick and his wife is the original in which the picture was shown at the Royal Academy in 1773 since the canvas's unusual size makes it unlikely that the frame has subsequently been changed. The picture appears to have been commissioned by Garrick's very good friend, Thomas Fitzmaurice, who was the brother of the future Prime Minister, Lord Shelburne. Garrick wrote to Fitzmaurice on 19 January 1773 claiming to be going to Sir Joshua's 'for the last time', but in the event sittings were taking place as late as 17 April, only a week before the exhibition opened.1 The frame-was probably made in the early months of 1773 but may not have been included in Fitzmaurice's payment to Reynolds of £157.10s, that is 150 guineas, on 17 January 1775. Although Garrick is known for his interest in framing, it was probably Reynolds who chose the Maratta frame, his usual favourite, albeit differing in certain details (such as the placing of the enriched acanthus-and-shell ornament on the sight edge) from the more classic Maratta pattern he used in the same exhibition for his Ugolino and his Children in the Dungeon, now at Knole.

    1 David Little and George Kahrl, The Letters of David Garrick, 1963, vol.II, p 851, no.739. Royal Academy Library, Reynolds's sitter book, 17 April 1773.

  • Uglow, Jenny, Character Sketches: Dr Johnson, His Club and Other Friends, 1998, p. 22
  • Wendorf, Richard, Sir Joshua Reynolds: The Portrait in Society, 1996, p. 80

Placesback to top

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Events of 1772back to top

Current affairs

Somersett's Case: William Murrary, 1st Earl of Mansfield, the Lord Chief Justice, rules that slaves could not be taken out of their country against their will after the case of American slave John Somersett is brought before him.
Royal Marriages Act requires the monarch's consent for the marriage of all members of the royal family.

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Britain's first trunk canal, the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, opens for business.


Swiss pastor Johann Kaspar Lavater's Essays on Physiognomy revive the study of character through outward appearance.
Captain James Cook sets off, aboard HMS Resolution, on his second Pacific voyage.
First partition of Poland marks the start of Poland's disappearance as an independent state.

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