Reynolds painted a number of so-called 'subject pictures', in which he depicted his sitters in the guise of heroes and heroines from literature and mythology. The present sitter, once erroneously identified as Miss Elizabeth Ingram, is portrayed as Ariadne, a beautiful heroine of Greek mythology who is best known for helping Theseus overcome the Minotaur in Crete.
London, British Institution, Pictures by the late Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1813, no. 51.
London, British Institution, 1833, no. 38.
Art Union, 1847, p. 124.
E. Hamilton, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Engraved Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds, P.R.A. from 1755 to 1822, new ed., enlarged, London, 1884, p. 141.
A. Graves and W.V. Cronin, A History of the Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds, London, 1899-1901, III, pp. 1131-1132, 1174; IV, p. 1451, 1480 YY.
W. Armstrong, Sir Joshua Reynolds, London, 1900, p. 238.
A.L. Baldry, Sir Joshua Reynolds, London, 1903, p. xiii.
M. Cormack, 'The Ledgers of Sir Joshua Reynolds', The Walpole Society, XLII, 1970, p. 158.
D. Mannings, Sir Joshua Reynolds: A Complete Catalogue of his Paintings, New Haven and London, 2000, I, p. 583, fig. 1578; II, p. 509, no. 2011.
Bought from Reynolds in 1781 by William Lock.
William Smith, by 1813.
Alexander Baring, by 1833.
Lord Ashburton, by 1847; Christie's, 18 July 1924, lot 89 (140 gns. to Agnew).
with Agnews, London, from whom acquired on 16 February 1925 by
Robert C. Vose.
with Vose Gallery, Boston.
Mrs. Edwin S. Webster, Boston in 1939, and by descent to the present owner.
About Joshua Reynolds
Sir Joshua Reynolds was considered one of the most sought-after portrait artists of 18th-century England, though he was unpopular with the reigning George III. Reynolds studied under Thomas Hudson and Joseph Wright of Derby, and drew influence from Old Masters like Peter Paul Rubens and Rembrandt van Rijn. His style was an amalgamation of his international influences, characterized by dramatic lighting, rich colors, and poses borrowed from classical paintings. He became the first president of the Royal Academy upon its founding in 1768 and there delivered his famous and widely influential lectures, the “Discourses on Art”. Reynolds became an important figure not only to his students, but subsequent generations of portrait artists, including Thomas Lawrence and Henry Raeburn.
British, 1723-1792, Plympton, United Kingdom, based in London, United Kingdom