Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723–1792)
HENRY, 8TH LORD ARUNDELL OF WARDOUR, c. 1764–1767
Oil on canvas
94 x 58 inches
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harry S. Price, Jr.
Sir Joshua Reynolds
HENRY, 8TH LORD ARUNDELL OF WARDOUR
Reynold’s full-length portrait of the elegantly dressed English nobleman exemplifies both the brilliant painterly skills that made him one of the most sought after portraitists of his age, and the luxury enjoyed by England’s richest noble families in the eighteenth century. The artist captures Henry with all the signs of his status: his peer’s robes, the crown of a Lord Baron resting on the parapet, and an aloof, if noble, bearing.
The six-foot, six-inch Henry (1740-1808), a Catholic, was a member of the Arundell family, one the oldest aristocratic families of medieval England. Their ancestral home was Wardour Castle in Wiltshire, almost entirely destroyed in 1644 and gradually rebuilt by Henry. Inheriting the title and estates at the age of sixteen, he traveled on the Grand Tour to Italy. This portrait was made in 1763 just after his marriage to Mary Conquest of Irnham, Lincolnshire, an heiress whose wealth substantially improved his financial condition. A companion portrait of his wife was done at the same time, now in the San Antonio Museum of Art.