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

Joshua ReynoldsEngland, George II (r. 1727-1760)

University of Michigan Museum of Art

University of Michigan Museum of Art
Ann Arbor, United States


  • Title: Lord Charles Spencer (1740-1820), Second son of the Third Duke of Marlborough
  • Creator: Joshua Reynolds
  • Date Created: England, George II (r. 1727-1760)
  • Location: London, United Kingdom
  • Physical Dimensions: w72.7 x h87.9 mm (work)
  • Label Copy: Sir Joshua Reynolds was one of the most fashionable and successful English portrait artists of the eighteenth century. During his illustrious career he painted most of the great social and political leaders of his time, defining for many our understanding of the look of English power from that period. Among these elites numbered Lord Charles Spencer (1740–1820), depicted here as a refined young man, who was the second son of one of England’s preeminent landholders. The canvas dates from a fertile point in Reynolds’ career, when commercial success coincided with artistic experimentation as Reynolds moved toward a more classicizing style that emphasized the volume and plasticity of form over the Venetian-inspired chromaticism that had characterized his earlier work. This portrait is clearly unfinished and appears to be the abandoned original for a finished work of similar dimensions still in the collection of the Duke of Marlborough. Its unfinished state allows us to savor better the fruits of Reynolds’ skill that are often lost in finished works, such as the subtle harmonies of color and the fluid brushwork that preserves the artist’s confident touch.
  • Type: Painting
  • External Link: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/musart/x-2001-sl-2.128/2001_2.128.JPG?lasttype=boolean;lastview=thumbnail;resnum=1;sel9=ic_exact;size=20;sort=relevance;start=1;subview=detail;view=entry;rgn1=musart_an;select1=starts;q1=2001%2F2.128
  • Medium: oil on canvas

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