Lord Charles Spencer (1740-1820), Second son of the Third Duke of Marlborough

A young man leans against a stone ledge and gazes to his right. He wears a slate blue jacket with a white collar and cuffs and has a matching mantle. He casually hooks a finger of his left hand in the hilt of a sword that hangs at his waist. A plain stone column immediately behind the sitter creates a near silhouette of the shadowed side of his face. A hazy sky fills the background.
Joshua Reynolds
1759
This unfinished half-length portrait represents Lord Charles Spencer, second son of the third Duke of Marlborough, leaning against a stone ledge in a pose of casual refinement. While the sitter's face is constructed from small, careful brushstrokes and is defined by smooth gradations of light, his garments and hands are painted with great fluidity and the forms are fashioned through dramatically juxtaposed passages of color and shadow. The subtle sophistication of the painting--evinced by the expertly balanced tonalities and the skillful evocation of depth--contribute powerfully to the impression of relaxed elegance in the sitter.
Museum purchase made possible by the W. Hawkins Ferry Fund
2001/2.128
Tuesday, September 26, 2017