SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS, P.R.A. | Girl leaning on a pedestal, or The Laughing Girl
Property from a European Private Collection
SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS, P.R.A.
Plympton, Devon 1723 - 1792 London
Girl leaning on a pedestal, or The Laughing Girl
oil on canvas
75.6 x 62.7 cm.; 29¾ x 24⅝ in.
The canvas has a firm relining, and the paint surface is dirty with a very yellowed varnish. The weave of the canvas has become more visible in the girl's face, but much of the impasto brushwork in her sleeves remains intact. Surface scuffs and scratches are visible scattered in the lower half of the painting, and there is evidence of bitumenisation in the darks of the girl's drapery, below her crossed arms. Inspection under ultraviolet light is impeded by the thick, milky varnish, underneath which some retouching is visible scattered in the lower half of the painting and in the upper left part of her hair, as well as a more concentrated patch of restoration in her bare elbow, measuring 3 x 5 cm. The painting is in overall fair condition.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
George Francis Wyndham, 4th Earl of Egremont (1786–1845);
By whom sold, London, Christie's, 21 May 1892, lot 90, to McLean for £194–5s.;
With Dowdeswell & Dowdeswell, London, after 1887 (purchased from the above);
T.W. Bacon (purchased from the above for £300 in 1894);
By descent to A.W. Bacon;
By whom sold, London, Sotheby's, 15 March 1978, lot 37 (as The Laughing Girl), where acquired by the family of the present owner.
A. Graves and W.V. Cronin, A history of the works of Sir Joshua Reynolds, London 1899, vol. III, p. 1167, and vol. IV, p. 1456;
M. Postle, in D. Mannings, Sir Joshua Reynolds, A complete catalogue of his paintings, New Haven and London 2000, text vol., p. 532, cat. no. 2076, reproduced plates vol., p. 597, fig. 1626.
London, The Grafton Galleries, Exhibition of Fair Women, 1894, no. 193 (lent by T.W. Bacon).
This composition is thought to have been developed by Reynolds to serve as a pendant or 'companion' to Rembrandt's celebrated Girl at a Window in the Dulwich Picture Gallery, London.1 Martin Postle, in his analysis of Reynolds' subject pictures (see Literature), divides the variants of The Laughing Girl into two distinct types, A and B. The present version belongs to type B (type A depicting a different girl with her hair parted in the centre and held back with a hairband, dressed in a cream dress and brown shawl). Postle lists four versions of this type as autograph, and lists many more copies, attesting to the success of the composition and the high demand from collectors for works of this nature.
1 Inv. no. DPG163; see E. van de Wetering, Rembrandt's paintings revisited, a complete survey, Dordrecht 2015, p. 313, cat. no. 200, reproduced.