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In this portrait, James Hodges is depicted in his capacity as Town Clerk and Deputy Chamberlain of the City of London. Hodges's official robes are worn over a claret-coloured velvet suit with lace ruffles, his powdered bob-wig reinforcing his sense of dignity. The pose adopted by Hodges is common in Reynolds's portraits of men in public office. It was derived ultimately from Italian Renaissance portraiture, where it was invariably reserved for scholarly, patriarchal figures. Reynolds purchased the chair in which Hodges is seated especially for his portrait sitters. It now belongs to the Royal Academy of Arts.

August 2004