Joseph Marchi after Sir Joshua Reynolds.
12.75 x 17.75 inches
Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774) was not blessed with good looks but Reynolds has done his best to bring some dignity and intellectual gravitas to this portrait, completed when the poet and playwright was at the height of his career. In 1770s London if you weren't off to the Covent Garden Theatre to see his most accomplished play, 'She Stoops to Conquer' you would probably be found in the corner of a coffee shop absorbed in his phenomenally popular novel, 'The Vicar of Wakefield'.
Goldsmith did not fulfil his academic promise at Trinity College in Dublin where he studied as an undergraduate but found his feet when he arrived in London in 1756 and fell in with the likes of Samuel Johnson and Edmund Burke. He was, by all accounts, very convivial company with a penchant for fine clothes, witty conversation, music and a game of cards.
It is worth mentioning that the engraver of this fine portrait, Joseph Marchi, was persuaded by Joshua Reynolds to leave his hometown of Rome in 1752 and come to London. He studied under Reynolds and, despite an attempt to establish himself independently, remained his pupil until he died in 1808.