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Diana disarming Cupid: Elizabeth Dashwood, Duchess of Manchester (1741-1832) and her Son George Montagu, Viscount Manderville (1763 – 1772)

Sir Joshua Reynolds PRA (Plympton 1723 - London 1792)

Category

Art / Oil paintings

Date

1769 (exh at RA)

Materials

Oil on canvas

Measurements

2134 x 1511 mm (84 x 59 1/2 in)

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Collection

Wimpole, Cambridgeshire (Accredited Museum)

On show at

Wimpole, Cambridgeshire, East of England, National Trust

NT 207779

Caption

This portrait was Reynolds’s first entry to the first Royal Academy exhibition in 1769, and thus something of a manifesto of how he thought aristocratic portraiture should be. In borrowing the motif and the pose from Francesco Albani’s Disarming of Cupid (Paris, Louvre), Reynolds considered he was exploiting the Old Masters creatively to raise the status of portraiture, but he was attacked as a plagiarist by Nathaniel Hone in his painting, The Conjuror (1775). Horace Walpole annotated his catalogue with the words ‘bad attitude’ - a fair judgement on a curiously laboured composition. However, the ‘St. James’s Chronicle’ of 1769, referring to the Academy exhibition, notes that it was this picture ‘that has attracted the attention of connoisseurs’. The sitters in this much ruined portrait have no connection with Wimpole.

Summary

Oil painting on canvas, Diana disarming Cupid: Elizabeth Dashwood, Duchess of Manchester (1741-1832) and her Son George Montagu, Viscount Manderville (1763 – 1772), by Sir Joshua Reynolds PRA (Plympton 1723 - London 1792). Reynolds's first entry to the first Royal Academy exhibition in 1769, and thus something of a manifesto of his art. In borrowing the motif and the pose from Francesco Albani's Disarming of Cupid (Paris, Louvre), Reynolds considered he was exploiting the Old Masters creatively to raise the status of portraiture, but he was attacked as a plagiarist by Nathaniel Hone in his painting, The Conjuror (1775). Horace Walpole's dismissive comment 'bade attitude' is a fair judgement on a curiously laboured composition. The sitters in this much ruined portrait have no connection with Wimpole; Mrs Bambridge probably bought it and the Queen Charlotte (WIM/P/13) purely to furnish two of the panels in this room. (From the Kimbolton Castle collection - Ellis K. Waterhouse 'Reynolds' plate 125)

Provenance

Collection of the Duke of Manchester at Kimbolton; sale, Knight, Frank and Rutley, 18-21 July 1949 at Kimbolton, lot 7; bought through Legatt Bros, by Elsie Kipling, Mrs George Bambridge (1896-1976) in November 1958. Bequeathed to the National Trust together with Wimpole Hall, its contents and an estate of 3,000 acres.

Credit line

Wimpole Hall, The Bambridge Collection (National Trust)

Makers and roles

Sir Joshua Reynolds PRA (Plympton 1723 - London 1792)

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