Sir Joshua Reynolds

Joshua Reynolds was born in the town of Plympton (now a suburb of the city of Plymouth), on 16 July 1723. He was the youngest of seven sons born to the Reverend Samuel Reynolds, a local Grammar School master, and his wife Theophilia.

Reynolds' talent as an artist was clear from an early age and he went on to become one of Britain's finest and most fashionable portrait painters - mixing with some of the 18th century's best-known 'celebrities', enjoying the patronage of some of the South West's most wealthy landowning families and becoming the founding President of famous London arts institute, the Royal Academy.

This website was originally created in connection with Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery's major 2009/10 exhibition, 'Sir Joshua Reynolds: The Acquisition of Genius'. It now remains online as a permanent legacy from the project.

The pages that follow give you an overview of Reynolds' life and career - from his earliest commissions in and around Plymouth to his pre-eminence in the London art world of the late 18th century. They also contain some free downloadable resources.

The Friends of Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery are currently fundraising to help us acquire two important items from Reynolds' early career. For more information or to donate please visit The Friends of Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery website.

Self Portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds c.1772/3 © Philip Mould Ltd

   Self Portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds c.1772/3
   © Philip Mould Ltd