Charles Hodges after Sir Joshua Reynolds.
[Sophia Catherine Musters] Hebe.
14¾ x 23¾ inches
One of the most popular goddesses on Mount Olympus would have to be Hebe, cupbearer to the gods, distributor of ambrosia and (crucially) the one in charge of restoring eternal youth; just imagine how popular she would be on Instagram! Little wonder that Sophia Musters s (1756-1819) chose to be depicted thus. She was, by all accounts, one of the most beautiful women of her generation and, as the diarist Fanny Burney commented "the reigning toast of the season". Inevitably she caught the roving eye of the Prince of Wales who, in cahoots with Joshua Reynolds, is said to have purloined the first portrait (commissioned by her husband) for his own private amusement. Reynolds had the portrait returned to his studio ostensibly for improvements then, once it had made its way to the Royal Pavilion at Brighton, claimed it had been stolen! This second portrait appeared to much acclaim at the Royal Academy in 1782 by which time Mr. and Mrs. Musters had become estranged and we see her as a free spirit let loose upon the clouds of Olympus.£1450