Statues and Monuments: Sir Joshua Reynolds

Posted: February 8, 2016 in History, London, UK
Tags: , ,

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Joshua Reynolds was born in July 1723 in Devon. He attended a local grammar school where he developed an interest in Classics and literature. However from an early age, he aspired to be an artist and at the age of 17 he was apprenticed to Thomas Hudson in London. He remained in London for 6 years before returning to Devon where he began to take commissions from local families for portraits.

"Joshua Reynolds Self Portrait" by Joshua Reynolds - http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/19009. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Joshua_Reynolds_Self_Portrait.jpg#/media/File:Joshua_Reynolds_Self_Portrait.jpg

“Joshua Reynolds Self Portrait” by Joshua Reynolds – http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/19009. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons 

In 1749, he travelled to the Meditteranean to study classical architecture and sculpture, both of which would influence his painting. He returned to London in 1753, where he became an almost instant success and quickly established his reputation. Within 2 years he was employing assistants to help him with his numerous commissions.

"Cumberland-Reynolds" by Joshua Reynolds - ABCGallery. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cumberland-Reynolds.jpg#/media/File:Cumberland-Reynolds.jpg

“Cumberland-Reynolds” by Joshua Reynolds – ABCGallery. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons 

In 1756, he became the first president of the newly formed Royal Academy and was knighted. He continued to live in London nd enjoy success as the foremost portrait painter of his day. In 1781, he travelled to Flanders and Holland to study the works of the great portrait painter Rubens. But on his return to London, he suffered a stroke which left him partially paralysed. Nonetheless despite this and increasingly failing eyesight he continued to paint. He died in London in 1792 and was buried in St Paul’s Cathedral where this memorial is to be seen.

"Sir Joshua Reynolds - The Ladies Waldegrave - Google Art Project" by Joshua Reynolds - 2gFUfp9ERPG2xw at Google Cultural Institute, zoom level maximum. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sir_Joshua_Reynolds_-_The_Ladies_Waldegrave_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg#/media/File:Sir_Joshua_Reynolds_-_The_Ladies_Waldegrave_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

“Sir Joshua Reynolds – The Ladies Waldegrave – Google Art Project” by Joshua Reynolds – 2gFUfp9ERPG2xw at Google Cultural Institute, zoom level maximum. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – 

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