George Romney  
George Romney

George Romney. Self-portrait
George Romney, (born Dec. 15, 1734, Dalton-in-Furness, Lancashire, Eng.—died Nov. 15, 1802, Kendal, Westmorland), fashionable portrait painter of late 18th-century English society. In his portraits Romney avoided delving into the character or sensibilities of the sitter. His great success with his society patrons depended largely on just this ability for dispassionate flattery. Line rather than colour dominates; the flowing rhythms and easy poses of Roman classical sculpture underlie the smooth patterns of his compositions.

From 1755 to 1757 Romney was the pupil of Christopher Steele, an itinerant portrait and genre painter. Romney’s career began when he toured the northern English counties painting portraits for a few guineas each. In 1762 he went to London. His history painting The Death of General Wolfe won him an award from the Society of Arts; nonetheless he turned almost immediately to portrait painting. In 1764 he paid his first visit to Paris, where he was befriended by Joseph Vernet. Romney especially admired the work of Nicolas Le Sueur, whose use of the antique strongly appealed to him. In 1773 he went to Italy for two years, where he studied Raphael’s Stanze frescoes in Rome, Titian’s paintings in Venice, and Correggio’s at Parma. Travel abroad matured his art, and a new gracefulness appears in portraits such as Mrs. Carwardine and Son (1775) and the conscious elegance of the large full-length Sir Christopher and Lady Sykes (1786).

Romney was by nature sensitive and introspective. He held himself aloof from the Royal Academy and his fellow artists, making his friends in philosophical and literary circles. About 1781–82 he met Emma Hart (later Lady Hamilton), who fascinated him. For Romney she became a means of escape into an imaginary, ideal world. He painted his “divine Emma” more than 50 times, in guises ranging from a bacchante to Joan of Arc.

Encyclopædia Britannica


Portrait of Mrs Anne Carwardine and Her Eldest Son, Thomas
Oil on canvas, 75 x 62 cm
Private collection

Miss Constable
Oil on canvas, 76 x 64 cm
Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon

Lady in a Brown Robe
c. 1785
Oil on canvas, 65 x 65 cm
Tate Gallery, London

The Leigh Family
c. 1768
Oil on canvas, 185,8 x 202 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Portrait of Mrs Henrietta Morris and Her Son John
Oil on canvas, 90 x 70 cm
Private collection


Portrait Of Frederick, 5th Earl Of Carlisle


Portrait Study Of Emma Hamilton As Miranda

Portrait of Emma Hamilton


Reclining Female Nude

Portrait Of Harriet Gale, Mrs John Blanshard


Portrait of Miss Willoughby

Lady Hamilton as Circe (c. 1782)

Emma Hamilton as a bacchante (1785)

Elizabeth, Duchess-Countess of Sutherland, Cincinnati Art Museum

Mary and Louisa Kent, Cincinnati Art Museum

Portrait of Mrs. Richard Pryce Corbet and her Daughter

Portrait of Mrs James Fletcher (née Fell) (c. 1765)

Thomas Robinson 2nd Baron

Elizabeth Lamb

Dorothy Cavendish, wife of William Cavendish Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland

3rd Duke of Richmond


John Walter (or Wharton) Tempest, with a Horse

Portrait of a lady

Portrait of Mrs. Andrew Reid

Portrait of Mrs. Harriet Greer
Oil on canvas, 76 x 64 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg


Henrietta, Countess of Warwick, and Her Children

Charlotte, Lady Milnes

Portrait of Catherine Clemens

Portrait of Sarah Curran

Barbara, Marchioness of Donegal, third wife to Arthur Chichester, 1st Marquess of Donegall

Charlotte, Mrs Thomas Raikes

Portrait of the children of Charles Boone

Jane Maxwell, Duchess of Gordon, Wife of the 4th Duke of Gordon, (With her son, George Duncan, Marquess of Huntly, later 5th Duke of Gordon

Portrait of a Lady


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