Reynolds: Portraiture in Action by Mark Hallett - review by Charles Saumarez Smith

Charles Saumarez Smith

Playing to the Gallery

Reynolds: Portraiture in Action


Yale University Press 488pp £50 order from our bookshop

Over the last decade at least, ever since he was involved in the organisation of Tate Britain’s exhibition ‘Joshua Reynolds: The Creation of Celebrity’ in 2005, Mark Hallett, the recently appointed director of studies at the Paul Mellon Centre, has been working on a new study of Reynolds’s paintings. It has now been handsomely published by Yale University Press and is a major and deeply serious work, informed by all the latest scholarship in the field of 18th-century studies.

In what ways does it advance our knowledge and understanding of Rey-nolds? Its first great strength is in paying attention to, and contributing to, the work that has been done on 18th-century Royal Academy exhibitions. From the moment that the Society of Artists (the body representing artists before the creation

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

A Mirror - Westend

Follow Literary Review on Twitter