Reynolds’s works often show men and women in contemplative poses. This gallery excavates this important strand of his portraiture and suggests some of the virtues and qualities – ranging from studious introspection to a ‘pleasing melancholy’ – conveyed by this pensive form of portraiture.


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Industry and Idleness (Plate 11)
Industry and Idleness (Plate 12)
March of the Guards
The Cock Pit
All images © British Library

1.Valentine Green after Sir Joshua Reynolds, Lady Louisa Manners, 1779.
2.Thomas Watson after Sir Joshua Reynolds, Honourable Mrs. Parker, 1773.
3.James McArdell after Sir Joshua Reynolds, Horace Walpole, 1757.
4.Giuseppe Marchi after Sir Joshua Reynolds, Mrs Bouverie and Mrs Crewe, 1770.