Description

    SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS, P.R.A. (English 1723 - 1792)
    Portrait of Caroline Cox (Lady Champneys), 1764
    Oil on canvas
    29-3/8 x 25 inches
    An old stamp on the upper center stretcher bars, partially illegible on the reverse, MAJESTY / HRH The PRINCE of WALES / 96 MO... St. Grosvenor Sq / removed ... / LONDON;
    An old handwritten label on the center stretcher bar is inscribed, Caroline Ann Champneys First / Wife of Sir Thomas Champneys ... / and Daughter of Ric. Cox ... : / died in 1791 / Painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds / in 1768

    PROVENANCE:
    The sitter's father, Richard Cox, Quarley, Hampshire, England;
    Acquired by descent to Henry R. Cox, Hillingdon House, Uxbridge, England;
    Newhouse Galleries, New York, NY;
    Mr. and Mrs. F. Howard Walsh, Fort Worth, Texas;
    Walsh Family Art Trust

    LITERATURE:
    "The Ledgers of Sir Joshua Reynolds", transcribed by Malcolm Cormack, in The Forty-Second Volume of the Walpole Society (vol. 42) (1968-1970), pp. 113, 115.
    Sir Walter Armstrong, Sir Joshua Reynolds; Catalogue of Pictures; Portraits (London and New York, 1900), p. 203.
    Algernon Graves and William Cronin, A History of the Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds, P.R.A., vol. 1 (London, 1899-1901), p. 203.

    One of the most accomplished and popular portraitists of eighteenth century England, Joshua Reynolds was inspired to become an artist by Jonathan Richardson's Essay on the Theory of Painting. He studied with Thomas Hudson, the most fashionable portraitist of the day, from 1740-43. Reynolds then worked independently in London and in his native Devonshire before traveling from 1747-52 in Italy where he was profoundly influenced by classical antiquity and Old Masters such as Raphael, Michelangelo, and the Venetians. Upon his return, Reynolds painted a dramatic full-length portrait of Commodore Augustus Keppel, which established his reputation as a masterful portraitist and initiated a steady stream of aristocratic commissions.

    This portrait dates to 1768, the year in which Reynolds was elected the first president of the Royal Academy and then knighted. The old label on the reverse identifies the sitter as Caroline Ann Champneys, wife of Sir Thomas Champneys and daughter of Richard Cox. Reynolds twice recorded appointments with Miss Cox, first on December 7, 1763, and again on September 14, 1764. Since the portrait was presumably commissioned by the sitter's father, as indicated by the label on the back of the picture and by its provenance in the Cox family, it was only appropriate that Reynolds recorded her as "Miss Cox" in his ledgers.

    Dressed in rich costume with her right arm resting on a pediment and her head leisurely turned away from the viewer's gaze, the sitter is clearly depicted as a lady of class. The exquisite description of her clothing, particularly in the play of light and shadow upon the folds of her satin wrap, is characteristic of Reynolds' classicizing portrait style.



    Condition Report*:

    Condition report available upon request.

    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    November, 2006
    9th-10th Thursday-Friday
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