Joshua Reynolds (1723 - 1792)
- Mrs Jane Braddyll
- Oil on oak panel
- Size: 75.5 x 63.4 x 1.2 cm, unframed
Frame size: 104 x 91 x 6.5 cm
- Reserve Gallery
- Jane Gale was the daughter and sole heir of Matthias Gale of Catgill Hall, Cumberland. In 1776 she married her cousin, William Gale (1755-1818) of Conishead Priory, who adopted the additional surname of Braddyll in the same year. He later became an MP and Groom of the Bedchamber to George III.
This painting was commissioned as a pendant to a portrait of the sitter’s husband (private collection). Both portraits were painted on oak panel, a support rarely used by Reynolds and his contemporaries. The artist had previously been commissioned to paint a full-length portrait of their son and, in 1785, Mr Braddyll was presented with Reynolds’s portrait of George IV when Prince of Wales (now in the Tate collection, London). Finally, in 1789, Reynolds painted the Bradyll family in a group portrait (now in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge), one of his last paintings.
Mrs Braddyll is depicted in the ‘penseroso’ manner, reflecting the melancholic sensibility that was so prevalent at the time and one which Reynolds often used for his portraits of women (see P33, for example). Although the painting is in poor condition – particularly in the background, where significant cracking has occurred owing to the addition of varnish (in the form of pine and mastic resins) to the oil paint – it nonetheless demonstrates the confident execution of Reynolds’s later works. The fluid application of paint, particularly in the areas of drapery, is particularly notable.
Despite his agent's concerns about its condition, the 4th Marquess of Hertford acquired the painting in 1854. T