[Sir Joshua Reynolds]

Joshua Reynolds, Contemporary Copy of Correspondence Dating 17 Months before the Painter's Death

Joshua Reynolds, Contemporary Copy of Correspondence Dating 17 Months before the Painter's Death

 

A contemporary copy of a 2pp ALS originally signed by British portrait painter Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) as "Joshua Reynolds", possibly kept as a retained copy. Written in Leicester Fields (modern day Leicester Square in central London) on September 29, 1790. On watermarked cream laid paper. Expected wear including paper folds and isolated soiling. A large chip on the double-sided sheet only affects one word of text verso. Also accompanied by a loose blank sheet. 7.375" x 9".

 

In full, with unchanged spelling and punctuation:

 

"Leicester Fields

29th Sepr 1790 -

 

Dear Sir,

 

I return you a thousand Thanks for the Pleasure you have given me in sending Sir Wm Scotts Speech.

 

However high Sir Wm Scotts Abilities were rated by myself, in common with the rest of the World, this Speech, I really think, will raise his Character still higher - So much good Sense, and Knowledge of Life, so much Sagacity, joined with so much Elegance and Simplicity of Stile and Manner, and, we may add, so much chastized Wit and Humour, I believe, never met before in a higher degree, in the same Composition.

 

I read it out-right the Moment I received it, which, Considering how little I read at present, is paying it a very great Compliment.

 

I beg my respectful Compliments to Mrs Townley, and am,

 

Dear Sir,

 

Your most obedient humble Servt

 

Joshua Reynolds."

 

Joshua Reynolds, one of the preeminent artists of eighteenth-century Britain, painted dozens of British luminaries over his almost 50-year-long career. His subjects, ranging from weathered military heroes to gorgeously dressed socialites, were painted in a highly refined, idealistic style reminiscent of the Renaissance Old Masters. Reynolds's celebrity secured him the presidency of the Royal Academy of Arts after 1768, a knighthood in 1769, and an appointment as the Principal Painter in Ordinary to George III in 1784. Reynolds was headquartered for much of his career in London's Leicester Fields, where fellow artist William Hogarth also lived.

 

In the copy of the letter dating just 17 months before Reynolds's death at the age of 68, the artist remarked that he did not usually read very much. This was almost certainly because he had lost the sight in his left eye in 1789, a disability that forced him into early retirement.

 

The subject of Reynolds's letter, "Wm Scott" was William Scott (1745-1836), an Oxford-educated lawyer who gained prestige in the late eighteenth-century admiralty and ecclesiastical courts. In 1798, Scott was appointed a judge of the High Court of the Admiralty, a position he would hold for 30 years, and he would also be elected as a member of Parliament.

 

The identity of Reynolds's correspondent is unknown, but circumstantial evidence suggests his name was Townley; this could have been Charles Townley (1737-1805), the famous antiquarian collector.

 

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Item: 66338

Price: $500.00
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[Sir Joshua Reynolds][Sir Joshua Reynolds][Sir Joshua Reynolds][Sir Joshua Reynolds]
[Sir Joshua Reynolds]
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