Sir Joshua Reynolds
Three Ladies Adorning a Term of Hymen 1773

Artwork details

Sir Joshua Reynolds 1723–1792
Three Ladies Adorning a Term of Hymen
Date 1773
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 2337 x 2908 mm
frame: 2902 x 3382 x 180 mm
Acquisition Bequeathed by the Earl of Blessington 1837
On display at Tate Britain
Room: 1760

Display caption

The foundation of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1768 gave British artists a new professional status and the means to distinguish themselves from their artisan colleagues. Reynolds was the Academy’s first president. He developed the ‘Grand Manner’ style which aimed to elevate portraiture to the level of high art. In this portrait, the aristocratic Montgomery sisters pay homage to the Greek god of marriage. Their poses are taken directly from the work of admired old master painters, which lend them a certain dignity but also laid Reynolds open to charges of plagiarism.

February 2016