The subject of April's meeting for both groups was the famous 18th Century English portrait painter Sir Joshua Reynolds RA (1723 – 1792).
We learnt he came from Devon and went to London to study art, but it was not until he went to Italy that he really found his forte. Whilst he started with the usual paintings of religious and mythical scenes, he soon realised that the money was in portrait paintings of the nobility as well as the rich and famous. At the height of his career he had 5 or 6 sitters a day each for an hour.
We saw a few short films of his life and works, together with a slide show of a number of his (over 4000 works), set to music and a still of one of his famous paintings of Lady Elizabeth Keppel showing a magnificent dress. It was a surprise to most that he did not actually paint the “Drapery” of this dress, as it was the custom to have an expert in this discipline (in this case Peter Toms) or a student of the artist to undertake this type of work.
Reynolds was co-founder of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1768 (with his contemporary and rival Thomas Gainsborough) and was knighted by George III in 1769. He was at Gainsborough's death bed in 1788 where they were reconciled. Whilst his paintings go for hundreds of thousand of Pounds, one last July went for £4,786,500.
The May 13th meeting will be the trip to Malaga which you have recently been notified about.