REYNOLDS, Sir Joshua
(b. 1723, Plympton Earl, d. 1792, London)

Portrait of a Lady

Oil on canvas, 60 x 45 cm
Private collection

It is thought that the sitter of this portrait, depicted bust-length, with pearl earrings, is an as yet unidentified member of Sir Joshua Reynolds's family. The painting is unfinished, the roughly finished head stands in sharp contrast to the unfinished drapery and incomplete background.

By the 1740s, Reynolds preferred to paint directly onto the canvas with no preliminary drawing, a methodology he applied throughout his career. When completing portraits, Reynolds tended to work on the head of the sitter present, whilst the costume and other details were completed later on.

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