(b. 1734, Dalton-in-Furness, d. 1802, Kendal)
Portrait of Mrs. Harriet Greer1781
Oil on canvas, 76 x 64 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg
In the portraits of the late 1700s, when English Neoclassicism and its cult of naturalness flourished, a landscape usually appears behind the sitter. The neutral background of this portrait, created by an artist well-known in his time, does not make it extraordinary: the sketch-like painting manner (unusual for European art of the period), a colour scheme based on subtle transitions of grey-brown tones, and the subject's attire suggest that she is posing outdoors, exposed to a damp London wind.