Happy Birthday Sir Joshua

July 16 2012

Image of Happy Birthday Sir Joshua

Picture: Christie's

I generally try to avoid 'on this day' items, but today is Sir Joshua Reynolds' birthday. He would be 288 years old (I think). It gives me an excuse to illustrate a previously unrecorded self-portrait by Reynolds, which was sold at Christie's in the recent auctions for £325,250, a sum way over the strangely low estimate of £60-£100,000. To be honest, I thought it would make much more. Dated to the 1760s, this unfinished self-portrait is, to me, one of the best he ever painted, and in its daring appearance seems a rare combination of modernity and 18th Century genius.

However, I may be biased because 1) I love unfinished pictures and 2) we bought it. But I hope you agree with me. There is quite a lot of over-paint in the background, perhaps an attempt in the past to make the picture look less sketchy. We are doing tests now to see what lies beneath.

Notice to "Internet Explorer" Users

You are seeing this notice because you are using Internet Explorer 6.0 (or older version). IE6 is now a deprecated browser which this website no longer supports. To view the Art History News website, you can easily do so by downloading one of the following, freely available browsers:

Once you have upgraded your browser, you can return to this page using the new application, whereupon this notice will have been replaced by the full website and its content.