Joshua Reynolds was considered the greatest painter of his generation — more celebrated than Constable, more in-demand than Turner — a man whose prolific portraits captured the celebrities of the day from the nobility to prostitutes in London.
Yet today visitors to galleries are generally less able to recognise his work than that of his contemporaries, according to research carried out by The Wallace Collection. Its forthcoming exhibition aims to put that right and you can find out more about why he is so highly regarded through an excellent series of blogs by the exhibition's curator Professor Mark Hallett, director of studies at the Paul Mellon Centre.
If you want to go beyond just reading about the greatest portraitist of the 18th century, you can find many examples of his work at galleries in the capital, and also scope out his old haunts — from the homes of friends such as Dr Johnson and John Hunter, to the renowned Lloyd's Coffee Shop on Lombard Street. We've mapped both where you can see his work (red pins) and where he hung out (blue pins) in the map below:
Beyond that, the Wallace Collection has linked up with the likes of the Royal Academy, National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery and other cultural institutions to organise a Twitter tour of Joshua Reynolds's London on 26 February. You can take part by following @WallaceMuseum and using the hashtag #JoshuaReynolds
And if all this has ignited an interest in the great artist and you want to delve deeper, Londonist is working with The Wallace Collection to create an evening of Reynolds-related fun, including activities, interactive installations and immersive performances — all capturing the experimental energy and spirit of the artist. Tickets to the 5 June Late event are £12 available here.
Much of the information for this map was kindly provided by Richard Aylmer, editor of Reynolds News.
Joshua Reynolds: Experiments In Paint is at The Wallace Collection, Manchester Square W1, from 12 March-7 June. Entrance is free.