Joshua Reynolds Portrait of a Woman
Pen and ink
6 1/4″ x 4 1/2″
The great English portrait painter Joshua Reynolds amassed one of the largest and most important collections of drawings in history, yet he routinely destroyed the sketches that came from his own hand. Consequently, they are rare, yet because this artist-connoisseur does not appear to have esteemed them highly, they have seldom found their way into modern collections. That said, there is a similar Reynolds portrait sketch in the Robert Lehman Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The sitter in this drawing dates from the 1780’s, and closely resembles Reynolds’ painting of Mrs. Maria Anne Fitzherbert, the mistress of King George IV, which now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery, London. In the files of the National Portrait Gallery, there are two Reynolds drawings of other sitters–with similar scrawled signature, dates, and inscriptions–which date from the years 1789 and 1790.
We are very grateful for the kind assistance of the National Portrait Gallery in cataloging this drawing.
Frame measures 14″ x 12 1/4″