|Artist||Robert Dunkarton after Sir Joshua Reynolds|
|Published||Publish'd Feby. 20th 1778 by Wr. Shropshire, no. 158, New Bond Street.|
|Dimensions||Image 457 x 355 mm, Plate 510 x 360 mm, Sheet 516 x 363 mm|
Portrait of Miss Mary Horneck, the later Mrs. Mary Gwyn, she is sitting in a kneeling position while leaning her left arm on a stone bench beside her. She is wearing a turban and a long dress with a sash around her waist.
Mary Horneck, later Mrs. Gwyn (1752-1840), was a socialite and bedchamber-woman to Queen Charlotte. She met Oliver Goldsmith through their mutual friend Sir Joshua Reynolds and would become his literary muse, nicknamed by Goldsmith as 'The Jessamy Bride'. After Goldsmith's death Mary Horneck married Colonel Francis Edward Gwyn. Sir Joshua Reynolds made portraits of both Mary Horneck and her sister, as well as their mother. He must have considered this portrait one of his finest however, since he kept it in his studio up to his death and then left it to the sitter.
Robert Dunkarton (c. 1744 - c.1815) initially produced portraits in oils and crayons after an apprenticeship with mezzotint engraver William Pether. He exhibited these works at the Royal Academy and the Society of Artists from 1774 until 1779, after which he concentrated on printmaking. Dunkarton worked in a number of areas, including portraits, old master paintings, landscapes, and botanical subjects. Between 1770 and 1811, he produced some forty-five mezzotint portraits, many on a large scale. One of his last commissions was from J.M.W. Turner, for whom he provided the mezzotint ground for five of the plates for his Liber Studiorum, published in 1811-12.
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.
Chaloner Smith 2 ii/ii, Russell 25 iii/iii, Hamilton p.109. ii
Condition: Excellent impression, with thread margins.