Sir Joshua Reynolds
Master Crewe as Henry VIII c.1775

Artwork details

Sir Joshua Reynolds 1723–1792
Master Crewe as Henry VIII
Date c.1775
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 1390 x 1110 mm
framed: 1585 x 1300 x 650 mm
Lent from a private collection 2009
On long term loan
On display at Tate Britain
Room: 1760

Display caption

18th-century portraits of women and children often feature their sitters in costumes evocative of literary, mythological or historical figures. Such fancy-dress was meant to flatter the sitter, elaborate on some aspect of their character, or to provide amusement or provocation for viewers. Here, Reynolds represents the three-year old John Crewe (1772¿–¿1835) as Henry VIII. The influential connoisseur Horace Walpole praised the way Reynolds had reduced the ‘swaggering and colossal haughtiness’ of the original image to the ‘boyish jollity of Master Crewe’.

February 2016

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