SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS, P.R.A. | PORTRAIT OF RICHARD CROFTS OF WEST HARLING, NORFOLK
Property from Richard L. Feigen & Co., New York
SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS, P.R.A.
Plympton, Devon 1723 - 1792 London
PORTRAIT OF RICHARD CROFTS OF WEST HARLING, NORFOLK
oil on canvas
unframed: 51 by 45 in.; 130 by 114 cm.
framed: 59½ by 53¼ in.; 151 by 135.3 cm.
The canvas is relined and stable; the texture of the paint has become slightly smoother than it was originally but it remains vibrant. There is some abrasion in the darker colors of the background and trees, though the paint layer remains thick in the costume and face of the sitter, particularly in some of the white highlights where the impasto of the brushwork is still evident. There is scattered, small retouching throughout that is visible under ultraviolet light but it is not obvious to the naked eye. There is very little, if any, retouching in the face, most is in the background and some in the costume. The varnish has dulled slightly, and the painting may benefit from a cleaning and new varnish, though it could be hung as is. Offered in a carved giltwood 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. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color 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. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.
Sir John Saunders Sebright, 7th Baronet (the sitter's son-in-law);
Thence by descent to Sir Hugo Giles Sebright, 14th Baronet;
Anonymous sale, London, Christie's, 25 March 1966, lot 59, for 1400 Guineas, to Leger;
The Duke of Hamilton and Brandon;
By whom sold London, Sotheby's, 6 July 1977, lot 159;
Anonymous sale, London, Christie's, 24 April 1987, lot 94;
Anonymous sale, London, Sotheby's, 16 November 1988, lot 69.
G. Waagen, Galleries & Cabinets of Art in Great Britain, (supplement to 1854 edition), London 1857, p. 330;
A. Graves and W.V. Cronin, A History of the Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds, P.R.A., London 1899, vol. I, p. 213;
Sir W. Armstrong, Sir Joshua Reynolds, London 1900, p. 201;
E.K. Waterhouse, Reynolds, London 1941, pp. 65 and 113;
M. Cormack, "The Ledgers of Sir Joshua Reynolds," in Walpole Society, XLII, 1970, p. 148;
Sir R. Strong, The British Portrait 1660-1960, Woodbridge 1991, p. 216, reproduced plate 216;
D. Mannings, Sir Joshua Reynolds. A Complete Catalogue of His Paintings, New Haven 2002, vol. I, p. 155, cat. no. 454; vol. II, p. 450, reproduced fig. 1134.
London, Royal Academy, Winter Exhibition, 1908, no. 152.
"Reynolds’s portrait of Richard Crofts is as much a portrait of a well-established member of society as it is an ode to fine material and contemporary fashion. Crofts's red jacket and striped waistcoat steal the show here."
Richard Crofts of West Harling Hall, Norfolk, was the first son of William Croftes of Saxham and his wife, Mary, daughter of Sir Mathew Decker, Bt., a London merchant. In 1773, Richard married Harriet, daughter of John Darrell, banker of York Street, St. James’s, London. Their daughter, Harriet, married John Sebright, Member of Parliament for Hertford, who succeeded to the baronetcy in March 1794, becoming 7th Baronet. Crofts is shown standing amongst trees, wearing a red coat and breeches and a pale brown, striped waistcoat. He and his wife must have sat for Reynolds in 1775, as payments were made in November of that year and April of 1776.1 The companion portrait of Harriet Darrell Crofts is in the collection of the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, Tennessee.
1. Reynold’s Pocket Books, which list sitters and their appointments, are missing for 1774 and 1775 (see Mannings, under Literature).