John Opie

Mrs S.W. Reynolds

1795

Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Frame: 950 x 820 x 130 mm
support: 762 x 635 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1912
Reference
N02877

Display caption

Portraits of women from earlier in the eighteenth century often emphasised the richness of their clothes, or the delicacy and elegance of their features. Opie’s portrait seems to stress, instead, the thoughtfulness of his sitter.

The simplicity of her costume, and the brooding landscape enhances this effect. These elements might suggest a more respectful representation of a young woman than might be found in earlier generations, but were themselves highly conventionalised by this time.

Gallery label, September 2004