Joshua Reynolds

Thomas Gainsborough’s main rival in the Royal Academy was Joshua Reynolds, who painted similar “Grand Manner” portraits. So how do you tell a Reynolds from a Gainsborough? Sometimes it’s not easy! Despite having a better reputation than Gainsborough in his own day, Reynolds, unlike Gainsborough, was no draftsman. In fact, it was rumored that Reynolds couldn’t draw a lick. His paintings tend to be far less airy than Gainsborough’s, with important people striking important poses. His paintings also tend to be a bit darker, earthier-toned (read: drabber) than Gainsborough’s (whose own reputation, incidentally, has almost inarguably eclipsed Reynolds’ over the past two hundred years). If you’re really in a pinch trying to figure out who is who, know that Reynolds experimented with red pigments (esp. carmine) that faded during his own lifetime, giving many of his early portraits ghostlike faces, as seen in the painting below:

Charles Lennox, 3rd Duke of Richmond (1758) by Joshua Reynolds. Goodwood House (Chichester, UK).

Charles Lennox, 3rd Duke of Richmond (1758) by Joshua Reynolds. Goodwood House (Chichester, UK).