Isaac and Ede Antique Prints
Watson Reynolds Marlborough

James Watson after Sir Joshua Reynolds

Caroline Spencer

16 x 21 inches

A portrait of Caroline Russell (1743-1811), who married George Spencer, 4th Duke of Marlborough, in 1762, with their first-born, Lady Caroline Spencer (1763–1813), who married Henry Agar-Ellis, 2nd Viscount Clifden. The duchess is seated and directed to the left holding her daughter in outstretched arms. There are pillars in the background and landscaped grounds in the distance suggesting the splendour of the Blenheim estate. Lady Caroline was born in 1763 so she would be only 4 or 5 years old when Reynolds was commissioned to do the portrait. Looking at the artist's pocket book for the period it would appear that the Spencer and Marlborough families kept Reynolds very busy throughout the 1750s, 60s and 70s.

James Watson was born in Ireland in 1740 and died in London at the age of 50 in 1790. He was a perfectionist and had a reputation for scrapping plates that did not meet his high standards, choosing to start again rather than rework or alter a plate, as less scrupulous artists would have done. He was, therefore, a perfect choice for Sir Joshua Reynolds whose own standards were so exacting. He gained a reputation for the finest work and was consequently in constant employment; his output was prolific and his portraits include many of the leading figures of the day.


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