Find, Learn, Price Art
Enjoy the comprehensive art database we've compiled since 1987
Membership Details
Images, sales charts, bios, signatures, 30 artist Alerts and more ...
Art auction records:  Millions of references for pricing research
Or, register for Free Alerts
To track 10 artists.

Already a member?  Sign in here

Joshua Reynolds

 (1723 - 1792)
Joshua Reynolds was active/lived in United Kingdom, England.  Joshua Reynolds is known for portrait painting-Grand Style.

Joshua Reynolds

    REH-nuldz  speaker-click to hear pronunciation  click to hear

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Joshua Reynolds
Sir Joshua Reynolds was born at Plympton Earl in Devonshire, England in 1723. In 1740, after acknowledging the precocity of his talent, he was sent by his father to London, where he studied with Thomas Hudson, a competent but totally uninspired specialist in portraits. He worked in Plymouth Dock, London and Devonshire before sailing for Italy in 1750. The two years he spent there had a profound influence upon him and his subsequent career. His lifelong admiration for Michelangelo, Raphael, Guido Reni, Corregio, and Titian stemmed from this sojourn. From them he was later to borrow his poses, coloring and technical innovations.

From the moment Reynolds set up business in London in 1753, until his left eye went blind in 1789, he enjoyed immense success, so much that he had to keep raising his prices to stem the tide of sitters. Never having learned to draw with ease under Hudson, and having been brought up in the accepted studio tradition whereby much of the work was done by assistants, Reynolds employed his own or made use of successful drapery painters such as Peter Toms. It was common practice for him to paint the face and hands and provide a sketch of the pose, which would then be finished by an assistant, pupil, or professional drapery painter. In many cases, he would go over the picture again and apply the final touches. Despite this practice, which is alien to the 20th century mind, Reynolds portraits are unmistakably Reynolds' creations.

Gainsborough and Reynolds were rivals in their own time and have been rivals in public estimation ever since. Occasionally their portraits have a certain outer resemblance, largely because they both painted their subjects in the same fashionable costumes. But Gainsborough was as impulsive and unreasoning as Reynolds was cool and intellectual, so although they respected each other's work the two could scarcely have been friends.

In 1768 Reynolds became the first President of the Royal Academy; he was also elected mayor of his native Plympton. He resigned as President of the Academy in 1790 after a quarrel with the Council. He died in 1792.

Written and submitted by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.

M. Kirby Talley, Jr. in ARTnews, January 1991
William Feaver in "ARTNews", May 1986
Masterpieces of Art, Catalogue of the New York World's Fair 1940
Metropolitan Museum of Art Miniatures: Great European Portraits

Biography from Sotheby's New York
According to Gentleman's Magazine in 1771, Mrs. Jubb was married to Robert Jubb, of York and a "near relation" of Dr. Herring, the late Archbishop of Canterbury.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

Share an image of the Artist

  Full access to biographies is
  free each Friday
Biography photo for Joshua Reynolds

About  Joshua Reynolds

Born:  1723 - Plympton Earl, Devonshire, England
Died:   1792 - London, England
Known for:  portrait painting-Grand Style