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Above all, Reynolds was a lover of the arts. As well as being an artist in his own right he also collected other peoples' work and throughout his life he acquired a range of prints and drawings, many of which show a strong bias for Dutch and, perhaps unsurprisingly, Italian art.

He believed in the principle that you didn't have to be born a genius, you could practice until you became one, and so he collected works from Rubens, Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Mantegna and many others, studying and emulating their techniques to hone his own painting skills.

Elements of this priceless and unique collection of Old Master drawings and paintings can be found in places such as the Louvre, Paris; the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; The National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh; The Courtauld Gallery, London and The British Museum, London.

These works form a collection of old masters and curios which inspired and informed his work. Very few painters these days would have the luxury of buying old masters just to copy them!

   Hope Nursing Love by Sir Joshua Reynolds © PCMAG