Portrait of Angelica Kauffmann, RA (1741-1807) painter

  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Downing Street

    This portrait depicts the artist Angelica Kauffman, apparently taking a pause while painting. Although executed in oil, its light chalky tones resemble pastel or gouache, materials with which the artist of the work, Daniel Gardner, is more commonly associated.

    The identification of Kauffman as the sitter has been accepted since at least since the late 19th century, when the portrait was first engraved. The work may have been painted in around 1773, while Gardner was working in the studio of Sir Joshua Reynolds, a friend and admirer of Kauffman.

    Born in Switzerland, Angelica Kauffman studied in Florence and Rome before settling in London in 1766. She enjoyed considerable success and became a founder and the first woman member of the Royal Academy of Arts. At 39 she married the Venetian painter Antonio Zucchi (1726-1795) and, in 1782, the couple settled in Rome. There, she continued to paint and ran a Salon. Her funeral in 1807 was arranged by her friend Antonio Canova (1757-1822), the Italian sculptor.

  • About the artist
    Portrait painter Daniel Gardner was born in Kendal, Westmorland; the son of a master baker. He was taught by painter George Romney and followed Romney to London in 1767/8. He enrolled at the Royal Academy Schools in 1770 and, in 1773, had a drawing accepted for exhibition at the Academy, the only time he ever exhibited. He became a studio assistant to Sir Joshua Reynolds. As well as oil paintings, he also produced pastel group portraits. Gardner accumulated land and property in and around Kendall until his death. He maintained a lasting friendship with landscape painter John Constable, whose portrait he painted in 1796. Late in life he gave up painting to concentrate on money-making ventures. He died in London of a liver complaint, aged 55.
    Joshua Reynolds was the dominant artistic personality during the age of George III. He was born in Plympton, Devon. From 1750 to 1752 he studied the work of the Old Masters in Rome. Reynolds returned via Florence and Paris, and settled in London in 1753. In 1759 he painted a portrait of the future king, George, Prince of Wales (Royal Collection). After George’s accession the following year, Reynolds was dismayed to learn that Allan Ramsay had been made Principal Painter to the King. This marked the beginning of increasing hostility between Reynolds and the King. Nonetheless, by 1760 Reynolds had established himself as the leading portraitist. He became President of the Royal Academy in 1768 and was knighted the following year.
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  • Details
    Portrait of Angelica Kauffmann, RA (1741-1807) painter
    Oil on canvas
    height: 63.70 cm, width: 55.70 cm
    Purchased from Sotheby's, 22 November 1999
    none visible
    Collection of architectural conservationist and collector Derek Sherborn (1924-2004) F.S.A. by 1972; sold through Sotheby's, London, on 24 November 1999 (Lot 51); from which sale purchased by the Government Art Collection
    GAC number