STUDIO OF SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS, P.R.A. | PORTRAIT OF MRS. MARY ROBINSON
Property of a Private Collector
STUDIO OF SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS, P.R.A.
Plympton, Devon 1723 - 1792 London
PORTRAIT OF MRS. MARY ROBINSON
oil on canvas
canvas: 17⅝ by 13⅞ in.; 44.8 by 35.2 cm.
framed: 24 by 21 in.; 61 by 53.3 cm.
This painting has been relined. It is under a slightly dirty flat varnish, but overall the painting presents itself extremely well, with beautiful detail and brushwork throughout, including in areas which are more thinly painted such as the lower part of her dress and pink ribbon. Under UV there are some small touches here and there, some cosmetic "feathered" touches in the sky and some small touches in the flesh tone along the craquelure for cosmetic reasons. The carved wood frame has lost some of its gilding throughout, which could be addressed or left as it. Offered in a 20th century Regènce style frame.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Sotheby's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the condition report is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Sotheby's. For that reason, Sotheby's condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot.
Anonymous sale, London, Puttick and Simpson, 31 May 1932, lot 69;
With Newhouse Galleries, New York;
From whom acquired by Mr. and Mrs. Kay Kimbell, 1941;
By whom sold, New York, Sotheby's, 20 April 1983, lot 50 (as After Reynolds);
There acquired by Richard J. Collins, New York;
From whom acquired by the present collector, 1983.
The likeness captured in this portrait is of Mrs. Mary Robinson, one of the best known public figures and beauties of the late 18th century. A successful actress and writer, she gained widespread fame in her role as Perdita in The Winter's Tale in 1779, and as a close friend of Sir Joshua Reynolds she possibly had input into his rendering of her portrait.
A few autograph versions of her portrait by Reynolds are known, including one in the Wallace Collection1 and an unfinished example in the Yale Center of British Art.2 Reynolds completed these portraits in about 1783-1784 towards the end of his career, and the example in the Wallace Collection seems to have remained in the artist's studio after completion, where it was later engraved in 1787 by William Birch.
The present example appears to be a reduced replica from Reynolds' studio. Despite its smaller size, it preserves the loose handling of the originals as well as the poignant and memorable expression of the beautiful sitter who looks out to sea.
1. Inv. no. P45, oil on canvas, 77 by 63.5 cm. See D. Mannings, Sir Joshua Reynolds, a complete catalogue of his paintings, New Haven 2000, vol. 1, p. 394, no. 1533.
2. Inv. no. B1981.25.520, oil on canvas, 93.7 by 71.8 cm. See Mannings 2000, p. 394, cat. no. 1533.