|Artist||John Raphael Smith after Sir Joshua Reynolds|
|Published||London Publish'd March 30th 1786 by J R. Smith No.31 King Street Covent Garden|
|Dimensions||Image 680 x 450 mm, Plate 650 x 455 mm, Sheet 654 x 456 mm|
A striking full length portrait of Louis Philippe Joseph, Duke of Orleans, turned slightly left and standing on a small hill, wearing military uniform and accompanied by a turbaned man tending to his horse. Title in English and French below. The 1984 British Museum catalogue 'Gainsborough and Reynolds in the British Museum' notes: "The portrait was painted while the Duke was on a visit to England in 1785. It was given by the Duke to the Prince of Wales, and was shown at the Academy in 1786; later it was burnt in the fire at Carlton House. The print is lettered in French and English, as it would obviously have a large French sale."
Louis Philippe Joseph, Duke of Orleans (1747-1793) was son of Louis Philippe d'Orleans and Louise Henriette de Bourbon. He was the cousin of Louis XVI, but several conflicts between the two, concerning Louis XVI's choice of Marie Antoinette as a bride, and publicly challenging the King's authority, led him to life away from court. He supported the French Revolution, by joining the Staten General as a representative and earned the nickname "Philippe Égalité", a name he later adopted after renouncing his title in 1792. Initially seen as a hero of the people, he was eventually arrested and sent to the guillotine, when his son fled to Austria with commander Dumouriez, and he was suspected of being involved.
Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) was one of the most important figures of the eighteenth century art world. He was the first President of the Royal Academy and Britain's leading portrait painter. Through a series of lectures on the Discourses on Art at the Royal Academy he defined the style later known as the Grand Manner, an idealised Classical aesthetic. He had a profound impact on the theory and practice of art and helped to raise the status of portrait painting into the realm of fine art. A flamboyant socialite, Reynolds used his social contacts to promote himself and advance his career becoming one of the most prominent portrait painters of the period.
John Raphael Smith (1751 - 1812) was an English painter, printmaker and publisher. After abandoning a career in linen drapery, Smith became one of the leading printmakers of the day. He excelled in mezzotint, and produced numerous plates after portraits by Gainsborough, Reynolds, and Romney. In addition to his reproductive work, he was also a highly successful publisher and seller of prints, and exported a large number of material to France. However, the outbreak of the Napoleonic Wars in 1803 destoyed this market, and Smith announced his retirement from printmaking in order to produce pastel portraits of his own up until his death in 1812.
Chaloner Smith 125. Early state before alteration of publication line.
Condition: Very good impression. Light creasing to inscription space. Trimmed to the plate mark below inscription space.