Sir Joshua Reynolds was the foremost portraitist of his day.
First he learned portraiture from a painter in London and thenwent to Italy. After three years of study and travel, Reynoldsreturned to London, where he soon attracted notice by hisportraits of prominent persons.
He came to be the first English painter to achieve socialrecognition for his artistic achievements. He entertained theworld of wealth and fashion and the great literary figures of theday. When the Royal Academy was founded in 1768, Reynoldswas inevitably elected president and was knighted the followingyear.
Reynolds painted more than 2,000 portraits and historicalpaintings, depicting almost every notable person of his time. Heoften used experimental painting methods.
His portraits of Commodore Keppel, Dr. Johnson, Lady CarolineHoward, Mrs. Siddons, Sterne, Goldsmith, Garrick, Gibbon, andEdmund Burke are among the many fine examples that are ofhistorical interest.
Reynolds's works are in nearly every major museum in thewestern world.