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Spotlight on Reynolds: Lord Iveagh's Favourite Artist at 300

To mark the 300th anniversary of the birth of Joshua Reynolds, seventeen paintings by the artist went on display at Kenwood in 2023. Read on to find out more about the artist and his links to Kenwood. 

Spanning virtually the entirety of his career, from one of his earliest to his very last, Spotlight on Reynolds included portraits of leading society ladies, the children of aristocrats, politicians and businessmen, and the artist himself.

One of the most celebrated artists in British history, Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) dominated artistic life in the eighteenth century over the course of a career spanning more than fifty years.

Kenwood owes its extraordinary holding of works by Reynolds to Edward Cecil Guinness, 1st Earl of Iveagh. Of the sixty-three paintings originally bequeathed to the nation by Lord Iveagh in 1927, fourteen were by Reynolds. In the years since, these have been joined by three further works by Reynolds that were once owned by Lord Iveagh, given to Kenwood by his descendants.

Kenwood’s association with Joshua Reynolds dates back far beyond 1927 and the Iveagh Bequest. Reynolds was a near contemporary of Kenwood’s owner William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield, who was a one-time patron of the artist. Lord Mansfield sat to Reynolds in 1785; the resulting portrait is one of the most defining and widely reproduced images of the great judge.

Discover more about Joshua Reynolds and his work

The limited time interpretative trail explored Reynolds’ transformative impact on British art in the eighteenth century. From the portrait of Catherine Moore, painted in Paris in 1752 when a young Reynolds was returning from his studies in Italy, to Miss Cocks and her Niece, one of the last paintings begun by Reynolds before the loss of his sight around 1790, the exceptional collection at Kenwood spaned the artist’s lifetime, displaying his mastery of colour, bravura brushwork and inventiveness of composition.

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Spotlight on Reynolds was generously funded by The Friends of Kenwood.

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