A Striking Likeness: The Life of George Romney
In their stunning simplicity, George Romney's portraits of eighteenth-century gentry and their children are among the most widely recognised creations of his age. A rival to Reynolds and Gainsborough, Romney was born in 1734 on the edge of the Lake District, the landscape of which never ceased to influence his eye for composition and colour. He moved in 1762 to London where there was an insatiable market for portraits of the landed gentry to fill the elegant picture galleries of their country houses. Romney's sitters included William Beckford and Emma Hart, later Lady Hamilton.
An influential figure, one of the founding fathers of neo-classicism and a harbinger of romanticism, Romney yearned to develop his talents as a history painter. Countless drawings bear witness to ambitious projects on elemental themes which were rarely executed on canvas. Richly illustrated, this is the first biography of Romney to explore the full diversity of his oeuvre. David A. Cross portays a complex personality, prone to melancholy, who held himself aloof from London's Establishment and from the Royal Academy, of which Sir Joshua Reynolds was President, and chose instead to find his friends among that city's radical intelligentsia.
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