John Dixon after Sir Joshua Reynolds
Mrs Blake as Juno
15¾ x 24 inches
In this fabulous image, Annabella Blake is pictured standing upon a bed of clouds, attired as Juno with her right arm outstretched to take a cestus (the girdle of Venus that bestowed beauty and grace on the wearer) from Venus herself, reaching out from the clouds and pictured with the doves of peace . As Juno, Mrs Blake is accompanied by a magnificent peacock and her hair is elaborately trussed with interwoven pearls. The portrait was done in 1771 when Annabella was still married to Patrick Blake (who became a baronet a year later in 1772) but soon after this the marriage was dissolved and she went on to marry George Boscawen. When Horace Walpole saw the original painting at the Royal Academy, he was far from impressed and wrote "very bad" in his copy of the exhibition catalogue. He thought Reynolds' painting to be pretentious and Mrs Blake unworthy to take on the mantle of Juno.