Isaac and Ede Antique Prints
Watson Reynolds Crewe

Thomas Watson after Sir Joshua Reynolds

Mrs. Crew

24.5 x 23 inches

Mezzotint, engraved by Watson after Reynolds and published in London in 1773.

In this achingly romantic full-length portrait of Mrs. Crewe in a rural setting we see Joshua Reynolds employing his most imaginative abilities to create such an iconic pastoral scene. Mrs. Crew sits in a bower, head in hand whilst reading what we assume to be a romantic novel of the period but could just have easily been a political tract (see below). She is surrounded by lambs (signs of purity) and her obedient lap dog lies peacefully at her feet. Everything about this print suggests serenity and even the simplicity of her dress alludes to a purity of mind. It is a fabulous example of "Et in Arcadia ego", the yearning for a paradise lost.

Mrs. Crew (or Crewe) lived from 1744 until her death in 1818. In this charming print we see her in her late 20s not long after her marriage to John, later Baron Crewe. During her lifetime she became very actively involved in the political scene and would almost certainly have been considered a blue stocking. In fact, such was her notoriety that in 1784 the Prince of Wales proposed a toast to her at a banquet asking those assembled to raise their glasses to "True Blue and Mrs. Crewe"


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