Mrs.Thrale and Her Daughter Hester (Queeney)

Beaverbrook Art GalleryMay 12, 20170 Comments

Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), foremost painter of the mid- to late- eighteenth century, spent three years studying the Old Masters in Italy, and blended the grand style with portraiture, employing a wide repertoire of motifs and poses derived from the works of antiquity, the High Renaissance, and the Venetians. By alluding to classical civilization and the exoticism of foreign lands he was able to present his subjects as sophisticated, well-travelled, and representative of contemporary fashion.

In Mrs.Thrale and Her Daughter Hester (Queeney) (1781), the two figures are presented with fashionable hairstyles and lustrous silk dresses that combine traditional classical drapery with Turkish costume that were in vogue at the time; the bright red sash with gold trim and heavy fringe is suggestive of a kusak or waist girdle.

Hester Lynch Thrale was a British diarist, author, patron of the arts, and one of the first female historians. Her domestic life was dramatically transformed as an adult when she became a society hostess to a stimulating coterie of political, artistic, and literary figures.

Mrs.Thrale and Her Daughter Hester (Queeney) is on display now in Masterworks: Homecoming; come in to see it today. Happy Mother’s Day!

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