Monday, 2 December 2019

The Countess Spencer with her Daughter Georgiana by Joshua Reynolds (1760)

This is a beautifully charming portrait of a member of the aristocracy with her young daughter.  It is not as formally posed as many portraits.  The little girl is staging of a table and has a ragamuffin of a dog begging at her feet.

While neither the mother or daughter are smiling – you don't feel they are awkward or unhappy.  The girl's face represents total innocence while there is a little reticence in the mother's eyes.

The little girl was in fact Princess Diana's great-great-great-grand aunt!  She was also born at Althorp.  In this painting she is only 2 or 3 years old.  Her father was the great grandson of Sarah Churchill.  So these characters are very well connected!

My attention was drawn to this work by a huge doorstop of a book I got from the library – The Art Book from Phaidon Press.  Get it out if you have strong enough muscles.   There are 579 pages, each dedicated to one work by an artist.  The artists are in alpha order so you get interesting juxtapositions between modern art and old masters.


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