The Ladies Waldegrave Joshua Reynolds Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The Ladies Waldegrave is one of the iconic portraits painted in 1780. It's one of the recognizable works by Joshua Reynolds. Joshua had a gift in art and out of it designed the painting. The painting has a pleasing composition, beautifully expressed with the happiest style. The dresses are in their best taste, and the furniture is perfectly presented. It is a gem of the highest order.

The painting features three Waldegrave daughters seated at a small table. The ladies seat beside each other and are shown to be working on a piece of sewing work. The youngest of the three, Anna Horatia, sits on the right side, embroidering using a hook. On the left side it is the eldest Charlotte Maria, her head is turned towards front, and holds a thread of silk. In the middle is Elizabeth Laura holding curtain pillars and winding on a card. The joint activity links the girls together. The different dresses, poses, and actions on the portrait match the girls' character. The image was made on a paper using oil.

The art was created using mezzotint and etching printmaking methods on canvas paper. In 1781, the mother of these girls commissioned the portrait intending to attract suitors for the girls. By this time all the three girls were single. When Reynolds was making the portrait, he was the president of the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Reynolds received the appointment knighted from King George III. After commissioning by such a high-status artist, the portrait guaranteed appearance on the Royal Academy walls.

The Academy, frequented by many wealthy people meant a high chance for the girls to get suitors. The plan of the mother worked, and all the three got married and went on to make beautiful marriages. The picture first exhibition was at the Royal Academy in 1781. It was later sold and entered the collection of the Scottish National Gallery in 1952. The Ladies Waldegrave is an image of the famous artwork and remains up to this day. It is currently displayed at the National Gallery of Scotland.