Virgin and Child with Infant St. John the Baptist

  • About the work

    This painting was once in the collection of Henry Temple, Second Viscount Palmerston (politician, traveller and father of Prime Minister Henry Temple, Third Viscount Palmerston). Palmerston lived at Broadlands in Hampshire and was a patron and friend of the painter Joshua Reynolds. According to a document in the Broadlands Archives, the painting was considered by descendants of the Second Viscount to be a copy by Reynolds of a print by Italian painter Parmigianino (1503-1540), made following Reynolds’ visit to Italy and France of 1749 to 1752. However, this suggestion has yet to be confirmed.

  • About the artist
    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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    Materials & Techniques
    canvas, oil, oil painting
  • Details
    Title
    Virgin and Child with Infant St. John the Baptist
    Date
    1749-1760
    Medium
    Oil on canvas
    Dimensions
    height: 82.00 cm, width: 67.00 cm
    Acquisition
    Purchased from Colnaghi's, June 1954
    Provenance
    Collection of politician and traveller Henry Temple, 2nd Viscount Palmerston (1739-1802) of Broadlands, near Romsey, Hampshire; by descent to director of emergency relief services and vicereine of India Dame Edwina Cynthia Annette Mountbatten [née Ashley], Countess Mountbatten of Burma (1901-1960); from whom (via archivist Mrs Georgina Blois) purchased by Colnaghi, London, on 8 February 1954; from whom purchased by the Ministry of Works on 31 May 1954, as by Sir Joshua Reynolds
    GAC number
    2722