Reynolds, London and the Hudson connection

Plymouth Museums Galleries Archives

Laurie Thorne continues to look at Reynolds’ early life. Previously we learned that Reynolds’ wish was to train with a renowned artist, and Lawrie now looks at Reynolds’ life after he moves to London.

In October 1740 aged 17 years he arrived in London to begin a four year training in the studio of the Devon-born portrait painter Thomas Hudson. Hudson was based in London, with a West Country practice. In the West Country his work included painting a succession of Mayors of Barnstaple as well as the councillors and council officials. The below works are attributed to Hudson and are currently on display in our ‘In the Frame‘ exhibition.

In London his house and studio was located in Holborn Row, standing on the northern side of Lincoln’s Inn Fields. This was an area long recognised as a centre of portraiture. Hudson occupied the premises of his own…

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Reynolds’ early years in Plympton

By Lawrie Thorne – project volunteer

Lawrie has carried out research into Reynolds’ early years up until the 1750s. This is the first in a series of posts looking at the significance of the recently acquired self-portrait, in the life and times of Reynolds. It is based on an Art Bite talk given in December 2014.

Joshua Reynolds was born on the 16th July 1723, the seventh of eleven children of The Reverend Samuel Reynolds and his wife Theophila. Five of the children died in infancy. His father was Master of Plympton Grammar School where Joshua was to be a pupil. Samuel had graduated from Corpus Christi College in 1702, and was elected fellow of Balliol College, Oxford in 1705. On both sides the family was clerical and scholarly.

Plympton itself was an important area with its ancient Priory granted a Charter by Henry III in 1253, its status as a Stannary town, and its ability to return two members of Parliament.

Plympton Grammar School was one of private foundation. From the part of the estate of Elize Hele of Cornwood, left for charitable purposes, the trustees in 1658 allocated £1,800 for building a school house, maintaining a Master, and providing him with a dwelling. Begun in 1663 the school was completed in eight years with Richard Taprell, appointed in 1671 as the first Head Master. A dwelling- house already on site served, with additions, as a Masters house until its demolition in 1869.

Plympton Grammar School, by Samuel Prout (1783-1852)
Plympton Grammar School, as painted by Samuel Prout  © Plymouth City Council (Arts & Heritage)

The school was described as a Gothic structure of the most picturesque design and arrangement. Samuel Reynolds was appointed Head Master 1715 and was in post until his death in 1746. With few exceptions all the Heads were in Holy Orders.

Like Plymouth Grammar School under Bidlake, the Plympton School was famous for its artist-pupils. James Northcote was one, and both Charles Eastlake and Benjamin Robert Haydon finished their education there.

Samuel Reynolds had a wide ranging academic curiosity. He read political tracts, and had a small collection of anatomical and other prints, which Joshua copied. On his shelves were many of the era’s key texts, including essays by Jonathan Richardson – of whom more later, and perhaps most important of all he seems to have been a very sociable man with educated friends with whom he loved to discuss and debate issues. The group included James Bulteel of Flete, and two 2 lawyer friends, John Cranch of Plympton and Charles Cutcliffe of Bideford. One issue that occupied them was the future of Joshua.

Samuel’s first inclination was to bring up his son up as an apothecary – however, by 1740, Joshua’s interest in art was such that his father could write of his “very great genius for drawing and lately on his own head (he) has begun even painting”.

At this stage Joshua’s talent was sufficiently well known for a John Warwell to offer to train him free of charge as an apprentice. Under the general term of house painter, this would have involved coach and heraldic work, shop signs, chimney boards, over mantels and over door panels all of which needed skill and artistic imagination in the use of paint – a wide diversity of skills being deployed and developed.

For such an apprentice the seven years of servitude began at the age of 14 years, which contrasts with the four years pupillage later offered to Reynolds. Several of the founding members of the R.A. were to start in apprenticeships. Reynolds with ideas of his own stated that he would rather be an apothecary than an ordinary painter, and that he wanted to be bound to an eminent master.

Keep an eye out for the next post in this series, when Reynolds begins his training.

Sir Joshua’s family tree

By Nicci Wakeham, project volunteer

Having seen the call for volunteer community researchers into the life and times of Sir Joshua Reynolds, with Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, I was eager to become involved.

This would involve research using books, journals, the resources of the Plymouth & West Devon Record Office, information held at the museum itself and any other suitable resources available.

Our task was to investigate Reynolds’ early life (c. 1720-1750), the period he was growing up, his school life, apprenticeship and first studio.

My first mission was to explore his family and produce a family tree.  William Cotton’s book, Sir Joshua Reynolds and His Works: Gleanings from his Diary, Unpublished Manuscripts & from Other Sources,[1]  was a mine of information.  This, together with further material gleaned from the Johnson Family Tree [2], of which I found an existing copy at the museum, helped to build a partial picture of the Reynolds’ family. With additional facts found in the trove Pedigrees of Five Devonshire Families: Colby, Coplestone, Reynolds, Palmer and Johnson, compiled by Frederick Thomas Colby, DD FSA, in 1884, I have now amassed a tree with 130 individuals.

I fed all this fascinating material into a computer programme, My Heritage Family Tree Builder; I have enclosed a photograph of how huge the resulting paper chart has become – filing both kitchen and dining room floors; dimensions 525 cm x 120 cm!

The Reynolds family tree stretches rather a long way.... (photo courtesy of Nicci Wakeham)
The Reynolds family tree stretches rather a long way…. (photo courtesy of Nicci Wakeham)

A well-educated and pious family, many of the Reynolds men attended universities.  Sir Joshua’s father, Samuel was educated Oxford, as were two of his uncles and his great-grandfather (maternal).  His grandfather, Rev. John Reynolds was a Cambridge man (paternal), as was his nephew, Rev. John Palmer.  Four of Joshua’s great-nephews were educated at Cambridge and one at Oxford.

Joshua’s father’s family herald from Exeter and are probably related to the Pinhoe Reynolds’, who include Dr. John Reynolds (or Rainolds) (1549-1607), a scholar and President of Corpus Christi College, Oxford (1598-1607).  It was Dr. Reynolds who suggested to King James I that a new translation of the bible was required and was himself one of the translators.  He is said to have died of overwork at 58, leaving behind him a great reputation for scholarship and high character.[3]

Joshua’s Mother’s family are from the Great Torrington area, his two oldest brothers were born and baptised there.  His sister, Mary, although born in Plympton St Maurice, spent most of her years in Great Torrington, dying here aged 78.  In fact, Joshua’s brother-in-law, William Johnson (1728-1795), husband of his sister Elizabeth, was the Mayor of Torrington three times; 1757, 1764, 1771. FInd out more on his sister Frances (known as Fanny) in this Appendix.

This has proven to be both a rewarding and frustrating task; sometimes dates don’t match, nicknames are used, children are ignored if they didn’t live through childhood, the sharing of family names (out of 130 people, we have 11 x Marys, 10 x Williams, 9 x Elizabeths and 8 Johns). Some of the children’s names, from large families, are not recorded at all, i.e. Joshua’s nephew, Joseph Palmer (1749-1829) and his wife Eliza had 22 children; I have only found names for 14.

I shall continue to add to the family tree, making note of any anecdotes that I come across, but my next assignment will be to look at Sir Joshua’s early artistic interest, his schooling and the other artists from Plympton that followed in his wake.

_________________________________________________________________________

[1] Cotton, William, Sir Joshua Reynolds and His Works: Gleanings from his Diary, Unpublished Manuscripts & from Other Sources, London: Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans, and Roberts, 1856.

[1] Johnson family tree – Joshua’s sister Elizabeth (1721-1800) married William Johnson (1728-1795) in Great Torrington, Devon, in 1753.  The marriage produced seven children

[3] Hall, Isaac, ed., The Revised New Testament and History of Revision, Philadelphia: Hubbard Brothers; Atlanta: C.R. Blackall & Co.; New York: A.L. Bancroft & Co., 1881.

Tracing Reynolds’ Italian inspirations part 2

By Paul Willis, Curator of Fine Art

Here are more works I have managed to identify from our Reynolds sketchbook.

The set of sketches recto 62 and recto 63 are of the Parmigianino (1503–1540) work: Cupid, 1523-4 oil on wood, 135cm x 65.3cm. The theme of this painting may be based on a concept of late antiquity in which Eros (Love), Himeros (Desire) and Pothos (Longing) were seen as an erotic triad. In the Renaissance it was redefined as heavenly and earthly love. Here Parmigianino is commenting on the possibility of ‘pain’ associated with these forms of love.

Reynolds made two sketches from this work, one of the overall image and the second focusing on the Himeros and Pothos. Later in life Reynolds owned many of Parmigianino’s drawings in his own private collection.

He later wrote, regarding one of Parmigianino’s most famous works, Moses breaking the Tablet of the Law (Madonna della Steccata in Parma), that he was at a loss which to admire most, the correctness of drawing or the grandeur of conception.

Verso 65 (PLYMG.2014.72), sketch after Carracci, 'Pieta with St. Francis and St. Mary Magdalene' © Plymouth City Council (Arts & Heritage) / courtesy of Guy Channing
Verso 65 (PLYMG.2014.72), sketch after Carracci, ‘Pieta with St. Francis and St. Mary Magdalene’ © Plymouth City Council (Arts & Heritage) / courtesy of Guy Channing

The next sketch (verso 65) is of the Annibale Carracci (1560–1609) painting: Pieta with St. Francis and St. Mary Magdalene c. 1602, oil on canvas, 277cm x 186cm.  Later in life, Reynolds upheld the attitude of Annibale and Ludovico Carracci, championing a return to nature coupled with the study of the great northern Italian painters of the Renaissance. In his first Discourse, (delivered on 2nd January 1769), he stressed the importance of drawing from the model in the training of young artists. Students should be encouraged to ‘draw exactly from the living models which they have before them’. To illustrate his argument he cited the examples of Raphael and Annibale Carracci whose ‘exactness’ he described as ‘so contrary to the practice of the Academies’. There is uncertainty as to where Reynolds might have viewed this work, however if we wish to see this work today, it is currently held at the Musée du Louvre, Paris, France.

Verso 66 (PLYMG.2014.72), sketch after Domenichino, 'The Assumption of the Virgin' © Plymouth City Council (Arts & Heritage) / courtesy of Guy Channing
Verso 66 (PLYMG.2014.72), sketch after Domenichino, ‘The Assumption of the Virgin’ © Plymouth City Council (Arts & Heritage) / courtesy of Guy Channing

The next sketch (verso 66) is of the Domenichino’s (1581 –1641) gilded wooden ceiling of the nave with The Assumption of the Virgin in Santa Maria in Trastevere, one of the oldest Churches in Rome. Reynolds shows his interest in balance and unity of the composition and it’s areas of light and shade. When we look at Reynolds’s sketches we must remember how exciting it must have been for him. Although he had numerous Old Master drawing and prints whilst apprenticed to Hudson, he would never had seen the full colour and majesty of these works before.

Verso 76 (PLYMG.2014.72), sketch after del Sarto, 'Madonna and Child with St Elisabeth, the Infant St John, and Two Angels' © Plymouth City Council (Arts & Heritage) / courtesy of Guy Channing
Verso 76 (PLYMG.2014.72), sketch after del Sarto, ‘Madonna and Child with St Elisabeth, the Infant St John, and Two Angels’ © Plymouth City Council (Arts & Heritage) / courtesy of Guy Channing

The next sketch (verso 76) is of the Andrea del Sarto (1486–1530) painting: Madonna and Child with St Elisabeth, the Infant St John, and Two Angels, 1516, oil on wood, 141cm x 106cm. In this work, Reynolds has focused primarily on Mary, Mother of Christ and the Christ Child. There are possible reasons why St Elisabeth and the angels are not included in his sketch, and that the Infant St John the Baptist is not copied in the same pose as the original. Perhaps the sketch derives from another, but at present untraced version of this work, or Reynolds has deliberately left out those items that he was not interested in recording. Reynold’s aversion to servile copies of celebrated paintings is well known and often repeated in his Discourses.

Let those choice parts only be selected which have recommended the work to notice. If its excellence consists in its general effect, it would be proper to make slight sketches of the machinery and general management of the picture … (Discourse 2, 1769)

Conclusion
The Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery sketchbook provides a fascinating window in Reynolds’s life and his artistic development in Italy. It provides a visual record of Reynolds’ artistic eye, his thought processes and his personal interests. It is a rare private and personal insight into an artist whose life and work was to change the face of British painting in the following years to come.

Reynolds sketchbook bibliography 2014

The article is based on an Art Bite talk given at the Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery on Wednesday 3 September 2014

Tracing Reynolds’ Italian inspirations

By Paul Willis, Curator of Fine Art

I would like to share a few of the works I have managed to identify from our Reynolds sketchbook.

Recto 10 (PLYMG.2014.72), sketch after Giovanni Lanfranco 'Liberation of St Peter' © Plymouth City Council (Arts and Heritage) / courtesy of Guy Channing
Recto 10 (PLYMG.2014.72), sketch after Giovanni Lanfranco ‘Liberation of St Peter’ © Plymouth City Council (Arts and Heritage) / courtesy of Guy Channing

The first sketch (recto 10) is of the Giovanni Lanfranco (1582 – 1647) painting: The Liberation of Saint Peter, c. 1620-1, oil on canvas, 154cm x 122.1cm. In this unfinished painting (see the number of arms the angel has), an angel has just arrived in a blaze of light, to free St Peter from prison. The angel’s left hand touches Peter’s shoulder, which gives the image a feeling of immediacy. However, for Reynolds it’s the angel’s grand gesture and dynamic pose that attracted his attention. Reynolds viewed this work at the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, Rome, situated between the Via del Corso and Via della Gatta.

Recto 22 (PLYMG.2014.72), sketch after Il Guercino 'Return of the Prodigal Son' © Plymouth City Council (Arts and Heritage) / courtesy of Guy Channing
Recto 22 (PLYMG.2014.72), sketch after Il Guercino ‘Return of the Prodigal Son’ © Plymouth City Council (Arts and Heritage) / courtesy of Guy Channing

The next sketch (recto 22) is of the Il Guercino (1591-1666) painting: The Return of the Prodigal Son, 1654-55, oil on canvas, 155.6cm x 146.1cm. The Parable of the Prodigal Son is one of the most frequently represented in Western art for teaching repentance and forgiveness. Like other late works by this Il Guercino, this work is characterised by its clarity and simplicity, and I assume this is exactly what would have attracted Reynolds attention to it. You can see how he sketched the composition and highlighted the tonal highlights of the work. I believe it is these ‘dramatic moments’ that Reynolds liked and sought out while in Italy. Reynolds viewed this work at the Palazzo Colonna in central Rome, which is located at the base of the Quirinal Hill, and adjacent to the church of Santi Apostoli. However, if we wish to view this work today, it is in the Timken Museum of Art, San Diego, USA.

Recto 46 (PLYMG.2014.72), sketch after Solario 'Madonna with the Green Cushion' © Plymouth City Council (Arts and Heritage) / courtesy of Guy Channing
Recto 46 (PLYMG.2014.72), sketch after Solario ‘Madonna with the Green Cushion’ © Plymouth City Council (Arts and Heritage) / courtesy of Guy Channing

The next sketch (recto 46) is of the Andrea Solario (c. 1465 – 1524) painting: Madonna with the Green Cushion, oil on poplar, 59cm x 47cm. Madonna with the Green Cushion, a devotional image of the Virgin nursing the Christ Child, has been so called since the 17th century due to the motif of the green cushion placed on a marble plinth in the foreground. The relationship established between the two figures, the dialogue of their respective gazes, the complicity of their postures all display a tenderness that Reynolds obviously found attractive and would replicate in his later work Mrs Susanna Hoare and Child, 1763–1764, Oil on canvas, in The Wallace Collection. It is interesting to note that Reynolds thought this work was by Leonard da Vinci, when in fact it was the work of Solario, who was one of his pupils.

Verso 47 (PLYMG.2014.72), sketch after Rosa, 'The Temptation of St. Anthony' © Plymouth City Council (Arts and Heritage) / courtesy of Guy Channing
Verso 47 (PLYMG.2014.72), sketch after Rosa, ‘The Temptation of St. Anthony’ © Plymouth City Council (Arts and Heritage) / courtesy of Guy Channing

The next sketch (verso 47) is of the Salvator Rosa (1615-1673) painting: The Temptation of St. Anthony, oil on canvas 125cm x 93cm Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Italy. The Temptation of St. Anthony is an often-repeated subject in history of art. It concerns the supernatural temptations faced by Saint Anthony during his journey in the Egyptian desert. Reynolds finely sketches the prone figure of Saint Anthony but his main focus is on his temptation – the female, dragon monster – which Rosa has depicted in such frightening and horrifying detail. The work, which obviously inspired the surrealist painter, Salvador Dali.

Recto 59 (PLYMG.2014.72), sketch after Barocci, 'Portrait of Francesco Maria della Rovere' © Plymouth City Council (Arts and Heritage) / courtesy of Guy Channing
Recto 59 (PLYMG.2014.72), sketch after Barocci, ‘Portrait of Francesco Maria della Rovere’ © Plymouth City Council (Arts and Heritage) / courtesy of Guy Channing

And the final sketch (recto 59) is of the Federico Barocci, (1535-1612) painting: Portrait of Francesco Maria della Rovere, 1572 Oil on canvas, 113cm x 93cm. The Duke of Urbino, Francesco Maria della Rovere, who was an ardent supporter of Barocci. Barocci’s Portrait shows his patron wearing armour, in the role of a military victor. The rich variety of textures and colours creates an image of wealth and power, and this is exactly what would have attracted Reynolds attention.

Keep an eye out for the next installment to see more identified works…

Reynolds sketchbook bibliography 2014

The article is based on an Art Bite talk given at the Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery on Wednesday 3 September 2014

Insight into Sir Joshua Reynolds’ sketchbook

By Paul Willis, Curator of Fine Art

The following article is based on an Art Bite talk given at the Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery on Wednesday 3 September 2014

The Sir Joshua Reynolds sketchbook recently acquired by Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery (PCM&AG), dates from his travels in Italy in the early 1750s. The funding to purchase the sketchbook and the Reynolds 1746 self-portrait was generously provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England / V&A Purchase Grant Fund, the Art Fund, and the Friends of the Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery.

The PCM&AG sketchbook is a very rare survival of Reynolds’s period in Italy. Ten sketchbooks went to auction at Mary Palmer, Marchioness of Thomond, [Reynolds’ favourite niece] posthumous sale in 1821 – nine are now in public collections including the Sir John Soane’s Museum, British Museum (x2), Metropolitan Museum (New York), and Fogg Art Museum (Massachusetts). The PCM&AG sketchbook was one of the last two remaining in private hands. The sketchbook is therefore significant for its rarity and for the opportunity it represents to bring fresh insight into Reynolds time in Italy.

The PCM&AG sketchbook was created between 1751 and 1752, and contains 121 sides of drawings by Reynolds in pencil, pen & ink and black chalk. It is bound in its original vellum binding and cover. It was exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts Reynolds 1986 exhibition as catalogue number 159, where Dr Nicholas Penny recognised one of the
drawings as a study of Correggio’s Madonna di San Girolamo (Madonna of St Jerome) now in the Galleria Nazionale di Parma. It therefore seems likely that the sketchbook contains drawings from Reynolds time in Rome (1751) and the early part of his journey to Venice, particularly Parma and Florence (1752).

 

Sketch of the Madonna di San Girolamo, Reynolds
Sketch of the Madonna di San Girolamo, Reynolds © Plymouth City Council (Arts & Heritage)

You will notice from the sketch of the Madonna di San Girolamo how Reynolds focused on a particular element of a work of art, what we presume for him was the most interesting or useful aspect of it, in this case, the character, composition of the angel holding the Bible before the Christ Child. It is interesting to note that in 17th Century, this work was famed as the most beautiful painting ever produced. Vasari admired its wondrous colour and he said that the smile of the angel could cheer up even the most melancholy of observers.

Academic investigation of the other sketchbooks has shown that Reynolds would not copy exactly what he saw before him, but rather sketch those particular parts of the work of art that interested him, and sometimes even combine them with others to make a hybrid. In his Second Discourse, Reynolds stated:

Instead of copying the touches of those great masters, copy only their conceptions; instead of treading in their footsteps, endeavour only to keep the same road. Labour to invent on their general principles and way of thinking. Possess yourself with their spirit.

It was said in the early 18th Century that a successful portrait painter must have the name of having travelled to Rome. However, Reynolds did not go there to learn technique. He felt he had already acquired this from his apprenticeship with Thomas Hudson, one of the leading portrait painters in England at the time. Reynolds plan was similar to that of other scholars of the period who read and reread Greek and Latin in order to stock their minds with quotations from Homer or Virgil. By spending hours in palaces and churches where classical statues and paintings by the Old Masters were on display, Reynolds planned to memorise compositions, faces, expressions, gestures, the arrangement of points of interest, and the uses of light and shade to enhance the effect of the works. Reynolds plan was simple – he was to cram his mind with images from Italy’s glorious tradition of art which he could use in his own art on his return to England.

The sketchbook is a visual record of Reynolds’ artistic eye, his thought processes and his personal interests – a rare private and personal insight into an artist whose work and life were to become so public in future years. The sketches also inform us of what he possibly sought out on his tour of the churches, palaces, and private collections to which he could gain access. It is thought that he made the sketches in situ, i.e. in front of the actual work, sometimes making notes as to the use of colour and tone, and often noting the artist’s name although on some occasions he was mistaken). We also see flashes of his skill in drawing from life. The sketches range from coarse, sketchy line drawings, some with colour coding, to more built up, shaded, developed pictures. It is also interesting to observe his interest and analysis of ‘chiaroscuro’. Many years later Reynolds wrote:

When I observed an extraordinary effect of light and shade in any picture, I took a leaf of my pocket-book, and darkened every part of it in the same gradation of light and shade as the picture, leaving the white paper untouched to represent the light, and this without any attention to the subject or to the drawing of the figures. A few trials of this kind will be sufficient to give the method of their conduct in the management of their lights.

Reynolds’s sketches also possess a remarkable talent for summarising and reproducing what is essential in a pose or in a composition. However, he did not imitate the style of the paintings he was copying: all his drawings are in his own particular style. This is of course precisely what often makes the identification of the sources of his sketches difficult. On stylistic grounds alone it is difficult, but by including his method of working, it becomes problematic to gauge whether a drawing is a representation of a particular work of art or a construction of his imagination.

Work has been underway to identify the original works from the sketchbook, which I will share with you in the next update!

Reynolds, London and the Hudson connection

Laurie Thorne continues to look at Reynolds’ early life. Previously we learned that Reynolds’ wish was to train with a renowned artist, and Lawrie now looks at Reynolds’ life after he moves to London.

In October 1740 aged 17 years he arrived in London to begin a four year training in the studio of the Devon-born portrait painter Thomas Hudson. Hudson was based in London, with a West Country practice. In the West Country his work included painting a succession of Mayors of Barnstaple as well as the councillors and council officials. The below works are attributed to Hudson and are currently on display in our ‘In the Frame‘ exhibition.

In London his house and studio was located in Holborn Row, standing on the northern side of Lincoln’s Inn Fields. This was an area long recognised as a centre of portraiture. Hudson occupied the premises of his own master and father-in-law Jonathan Richardson, the leading British born portraitist of the early 18th century. In fact one could walk from one leading artist’s studio to another.

By the 26th October of 1740 in a letter to Charles Cutcliffe, Samuel reports on his son’s safe arrival in London and at the end of December he had paid Hudson the substantial premium of £120, half of which was found by Samuel and half advanced by Reynolds’ eldest sister, Mary, the wife of John Palmer of Torrington.

By the 30th December Samuel wrote that his son:

“is very sensible of his happiness in being under such a master, in such a family, in such a city and in such an employment”.

Hudson, in addition to being a portrait painter, whose sitters included King George the Second and George Frederic Handel, was a gifted teacher and taught a whole generation of painters including Joseph Wright of Derby and Richard Cosway. Not only did he teach his pupils the skills of painting, but the pupils were fortunate enough to see and copy Hudson’s own art collection.

Another advantage was that Hudson had been taught by the influential painter Jonathan Richardson, often referred to as Jonathan Richardson the elder. His treatise ‘An essay of the Theory of Painting’ 1722 was compiled by using material gathered by his son whilst touring Italy in 1721. To give it its full title ‘An account of some of the Statues, Bas-Relief, Drawings and Pictures in Italy’. It was very probably used by young men as a basis for their Grand Tour, and became the basis for future purchases of art by wealthy collectors and therefore shaped English interest in foreign Old Masters. Of particular interest for us is the fact that it was said that the treatise inspired Reynolds to paint. Richardson’s very extensive art collection was available for students to study and copy.

It is important to emphasise the importance of this at a time when there were no public Art Galleries. The fortunate could take part in country house tourism, or visit the first collection of contemporary paintings in England accessible to the public which had been formed at the Foundling Museum, London. However, access to private collections remained the best means of seeing and studying large collections of works.  It is speculated that Reynolds saw a self-portrait of Sir Godfrey Kneller and that this strongly influenced his own early self-portrait.

The Hudson connection was extremely prestigious and Samuel Reynolds recorded that it was changing the way that people treated him.

 As if a piece of good fortune had already actually befallen my family, it seems to me I see the good effects of it already in some person’s behaviour.

It is difficult to visualise Hudson as there are no known self-portraits, so the nearest we can get is to look at a chalk drawing by Jonathan Richardson, the elder, his tutor, now in the British Museum. It states –Thomas Hudson, Painter when young, drawn by Jonathan Richardson his master and Father-in-law.

What kind of work by Hudson would Reynolds have seen in the studio? Certainly a wide range of portraits including naval personnel.

For Joshua this training was to last for just three years. There is no evidence of a heated quarrel and the severing of all links – more a parting of ways. In fact Hudson kept in touch with Reynolds’ progress after he left.  Reynolds’ short apprenticeship was crucial to his formation as an artist – he learnt in earnest about the theory and practice of painting and the business of British portraiture. In addition to this he would have learnt about the ways in which a portraitist’s success was highly dependent on the careful management of an artistic persona.

We continue our next post in the series as Reynolds returns to Devon.