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A talk by Jenny Pery (S Devon Branch)

Thu. 16 November 2023 at 2:15 pm

£2 – £4

An illustrated talk entitled “The Grand Manner – The Legacy of Sir Joshua Reynolds 1723–1792” to be given by the noted artist and art historian Jenny Pery, who is President of the DA for a year from September 2023.

The cost will be £2 for DA members, £4 for non-members.

Report on the talk

Through a series of pictures, current president of the Devonshire Association, Jenny Pery, took members and friends through her talk entitled “The Grand Manner – the legacy of Sir Joshua Reynolds PRA FRS FRSA 1723-1792”.

Born in Plympton 300 years ago, the third son of the Master of Plympton Grammar School, Joshua Reynolds raised portrait painting from being merely “copying” to be on a par with poetry and other arts.

An ambitious apprentice to portrait painter Thomas Hudson in 1740, Reynolds quickly outshone his master and returned to Devon to paint portraits of family and friends, often just heads in oval settings.  Reynolds was influenced by Rembrandt and the old Italian masters, having studied in Italy for two years.

Reynolds painted the famous people of his day including Garrick, Sheridan, Samuel Johnson and socialite Kitty Fisher – thought to be the female mentioned in the “Lucy Locket” children’s rhyme.  He has been criticised for flattering his clients, leaving out any of their imperfections.  Unusually, Reynolds painted children, using his nieces and great nieces as models. Often his female models were depicted in classical attire, for example Lady Emma Hamilton was portrayed as Bacchante.

By 1760 Reynolds was famous and bought a house in Leicester Fields (now Leicester Square) in London.  He could see six sitters a day, charging 200 guineas for a full length portrait!  Though Reynolds often only painted the head himself, leaving the rest of the portrait for his students to finish.

In 1769 he became President of the newly formed Royal Academy of Arts and as such was patronised by King George III, later becoming the official portrait painter of the King.  Reynolds was also knighted in 1769.

Reynolds died in 1792 and was buried in St Paul’s Cathedral, the first painter to be interred there.  He brought portrait painting to a new level of dignity, artists now being on a par with poets.

Chris Reader


Thu. 16 November 2023
2:15 pm
£2 – £4
Event Categories:


South Devon Branch
Annie Maltby: 07771 277761


Newton’s Place
43 Wolborough St
Newton Abbot, Devon TQ12 1JQ