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Romney   By: (1862-1927)

Romney by C. Lewis Hind

First Page:

[Illustration: cover art]

MASTERPIECES IN COLOUR

EDITED BY T. LEMAN HARE

ROMNEY

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PLATE I. THE HORSLEY CHILDREN. From the picture in the possession of Messrs. Thos. Agnew & Sons. (Frontispiece)

Few painters have rivalled Romney in expressing the simplicity and naïveté of children. These portraits of Master George and Miss Charlotte Horsley are excellent examples of his mastery of an artless pose, and of the reticence of his colour. How delightfully the flowers tell against the white dresses.

[Illustration: PLATE I. THE HORSLEY CHILDREN.]

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ROMNEY

BY C. LEWIS HIND

ILLUSTRATED WITH EIGHT REPRODUCTIONS IN COLOUR

[Illustration: title page art]

LONDON: T. C. & E. C. JACK

NEW YORK: FREDERICK A. STOKES CO.

1907

CONTENTS

Chap.

I. Three Periods of Romney's Life II. Romney, Reynolds, and Others III. His Vicissitudes of Fame IV. His Portraits in Public Galleries V. His Portraits in Private Collections VI. Emma, and The End

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Plate

I. The Horsley Children . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Frontispiece From the picture in the possession of Messrs. Thos. Agnew & Sons

II. Sketch Portrait of Lady Hamilton From the picture in the National Gallery

III. Mrs. Mark Currie From the picture in the National Gallery

IV. The Parson's Daughter: a Portrait From the picture in the National Gallery

V. Lady with a Child From the picture in the National Gallery

VI. Mrs. Robinson "Perdita" From the picture in the Wallace Collection

VII. Miss Benedetta Ramus From the picture in the possession of the Hon. W. F. D. Smith

VIII. Miss Ramus From the picture in the possession of the Hon. W. F. D. Smith

[Illustration: Romney]

CHAPTER I

THREE PERIODS OF ROMNEY'S LIFE

High over the western boundary of Cavendish Square rose a tripod wooden scaffolding, supporting a gigantic crane cutting the arch of the sky; on windy days the smoke from the engine was blown upwards into space. Below, twentieth century mansions were growing on the site of old Harcourt House, for Cavendish Square, like the rest of London, was suffering an architectural change into something strange and new.

Some of the eighteenth century houses remain, and as I sought No. 32, in the early summer of 1907, I wondered if this dwelling of memories had escaped the builder. Abundant memories! Into that house, through the later years of the eighteenth century, passed the flower of English loveliness, breeding, valour, brains, wit and frailty. For this was Romney's house, with the large painting room at the back, which he, greatly daring, rented in 1775, to the satisfaction of the landlord, whose property had been untenanted since the death of Francis Cotes, R.A., five years before. Soon the great Sir Joshua showed signs of Olympian jealousy at the success of the raw man from the North, reserved, silent, moody, whose acquaintance with the beau monde did not go beyond his studio door; who worked by night on designs for "great or heroic art," and who had a genius for fixing the fleeting loveliness of a woman's face so simply and fragrantly that we liken a fine Romney to a rosebud arranged in a pattern of artless leaves.

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PLATE II. SKETCH PORTRAIT OF LADY HAMILTON.

(From the picture in the National Gallery)

Her rich brown hair falls in tempestuous disorder over a pillow; the mouth is open; the eyes are as near to tragedy as the volatile Emma could go. This sketch (circular, 1 ft. 6 in.) was presented to the National Gallery in 1898... Continue reading book >>




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