J. R. SMITH after Sir Joshua Reynolds
Mrs. Montagu, From an Original Painting by Sr. Joshua Reynolds,
in the Possession of HIS GRACE the LORD PRIMATE of all IRELAND, To whom
this Plate is Inscrib'd by his Graces much Oblig'd & Obedt. Servt.
John Raphael Smith.
A three-quarter-length mezzotint portrait by J. R. Smith after the painting
by Sir Joshua Reynolds, published in London in 1776..
Plate size 355 x 505mm.
Three quarter length portrait, sitting and facing downwards towards right,
with hair brushed back from face and cap tied around chin. Wearing rich,
brocade dress and with right hand placed over left on lap. Fluted pillar
and curtain in background with trees in distance to right.
Mrs. Montagu was born on 2nd October 1720, the daughter of Matthew Robinson
of Yorkshire. She married Edward Montagu of Denton Hall who died in 1775,
leaving her in such opulence that she was able to indulge her taste for
the highest literary and intellectual society and thereby to become the
leader of what was to become known as the "Blue Stocking" coterie.
She published several works herself and numbered amongst her acquaintance
such luminaries as Pope, Johnson, Goldsmith, Burke and Reynolds. She died
in Portman Square, London in 1800.
John Raphael Smith
John Raphael Smith was born in Derby in 1752, the youngest son of the
landscape painter, Thomas Smith, who was known as 'Smith of Derby'. He
travelled to London at the time of his father's death in 1767 and after
a period of shop work began his career as an artist. He began work as
a painter of both miniatures and larger scale paintings but went on to
develop his skill as an engraver. In 1781 he moved to a studio in Oxford
Street and by 1784 he had been appointed as mezzotint engraver to the
Prince of Wales. By 1787 he had settled permanently in Covent Garden,
until his death in Doncaster in 1812. Smith's engravings count amongst
the most admired examples of mezzotint