Joanna Leigh, Mrs Richard Bennett Lloyd (b.1758) Inscribing a Tree

On display in:

Bedroom Corridor

Order image © All images subject to copyright

Artist or maker

Reynolds, Joshua (b.1723, d.1792)

Date

1775-1776

dated by Reynolds's sitters book

Place of production

  • London, England, United Kingdom

Medium

  • oil on canvas

Type of object

  • paintings

Accession number

103.1995

Rectangular oil painting in portrait orientation, depicting a woman (Mrs Richard Bennet Lloyd), inscribing her husband's name into the bark of a tree on the left. She is dressed in a loosely structured very pale mauve dress, of classical inspiration, with a fringed silk sash around her waist and wears sandels after the antique. She is shown standing in profile, facing the left. Her right leg is crossed over her left, which is straight, and she leans on a rectangular stone block or plinth behind her. In the background, a wooded landscape rises up towards a steep hill.

Joanna Leigh, later Lloyd, was the co-heiress, along with her four sisters, of the rich merchant John Leigh of Northcourt House, Isle of Wight. She married Richard Bennett Lloyd of Maryland in 1775. When Sir Joshua Reynolds made this work he was both an established London portrait painter and the president of the newly founded Royal Academy of Arts which sought to raise the intellectual status of painters.

Commentary

Reynolds shows Joanna carving her husband’s name on a tree, a literary reference to Shakespeare's 'As You Like It', a popular play at the Drury Lane theatre. The motif also occurs in two Italian epic poems of the 16th century: Ariosto’s 'Orlando Furioso' and Torquato Tasso’s Gerusalemme Liberata'. 17th and 18th century painters often depicted Ariosto’s scene of Angelica carving Medoro’s name on a tree. Reynold’s portrait is similar to Francesco Imperiali's picture, 'Erminia carving her true-love's name' taken from Tasso’s poem. Imperiali's picture was sold in London in 1754 and inspired a picture by Francis Cotes, so Reynolds may have known it.

Joanna's husband, Richard Bennett Lloyd, came from a wealthy family who owned tobacco plantations. He served as an English soldier in the Coldstream guards between 1773-1775. He resigned after his marriage and because of growing enmity between England and America. In 1773, the couple had their portraits painted in London. Richard was painted by the celebrated American artist Benjamin West.

The painting was bought from Agnew’s by Lionel Rothschild of Tring in 1869. Agnew acquired it from Christie’s where it was put up for auction by descendents of Mrs Lloyd. A letter exists that suggests Agnew manipulated the auction to gain maximum profit. Later, the painting was mentioned in Edith Wharton's 'The House of Mirth' (1905) in a scene where women act out tableaux vivants in order to attract marriageable men.

Phillippa Plock, 2012

Physical description

Dimensions (mm) / weight (mg)

2395 x 1478

Signature & date

not signed or dated

Inscriptions

The Portrait of Mrs Joanna Lloyd
Daughter of John Leigh Esqre of North-Court
Isle of Wight
Married to R. B. Lloyd Esqre
of Maryland the 25th July 1775
Inscription
[black paint on reverse of canvas, either side of stretcher cross bar, on verso]

no. 4
Inscription
[on verso, on frame, upper centre]

Mrs Lloyd
Inscription
[white chalk on right frame member, on verso]

Cat 103
Inscription
[white chalk on stretcher cross bar, on verso]

No 77
Inscription
[blue chalk on right stretcher member, on verso]

X
Inscription
[blue chalk on stretcher cross bar, on verso]

31
Inscription
[graphite on left stretcher member, on verso]

CAT 82
Inscription
[white chalk on left frame member, on verso]

Labels

THOMAS AGNEW & SONS.
Printed label
[on upper frame member, on verso]

C.58
Box
5
BRITISH PAINTING IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY
1957-1958
MONTREAL-OTTAWA-TORONTO-TOLEDO
ARTIST REYNOLDS, Sir Joshua
TITLE Joanna Leigh, Mrs. R. B. Lloyd
OWNER The Lord Rothschild, G. M.,
Cambridge
Printed label
[British Council label, printed, typed and handwritten on upper frame member, on verso]

Réunion des musées nationaux Paris
Reynolds 1723 -1792
Galeries nationales du Grand Palais
7 octobre – 16 décembre 1985
Titre de l’oeuvre: Mrs. Lloyd
Propriétaire: Jacob de Rothschild
No du Catalogue 49
Label
[printed and handwritten label on upper frame member, on verso]

N.B. – This Label to be affixed to the back of the frame (not the canvas) of the Picture.
ROYAL ACADEMY EXHIBITION OF THE WORKS OF THE OLD MASTERS, 1887
Name of Artist Sir Joshua Reynolds
Title of Work Portrait of Mrs Lloyd
(Please correct if not properly given.)
Name and Address of Proprietor {
Lord Rothschild
148 Piccadilly
Label
[printed and handwritten label on stretcher cross bar, on verso]

ROYAL ACADEMY OF ARTS, LONDON, W.1
BICENTENARY EXHIBITION
1968-1969
Artist Reynolds
Title Mrs. Lloyd
Serial No. 276
Owner The Hon. Jacob Rothschild
This label to be affixed to the back of the frame (not the canvas)
of the picture. Please correct any particulars not properly given.
Label
[printed and typed label on upper frame member, on verso]

EXHIBITION BRITISH PAINTING
PARIS 1938
Name Lord Rothschild, Tring Park, Tring
Title “Mrs. Lloyd J. Reynolds
No.
J. CHE [obscured by brass framing strip] PACKER OF WORKS OF ART
10 Great Andrew Street, LONDON. W.C.2
Label
[printed and typed label on upper frame member, on verso]

THE BRITISH COUNCIL
FINE ARTS DEPARTMENT
ARTIST Sir Joshua Reynolds
TITLE Joanna Leigh, Mrs. R. B. Lloyd
COLLECTION. The Lord Rothschild, G. M., Cambridge
EXHIBITION British Painting in the Eighteenth
Century
Canada and the U.S.A. 1957-58
Catalogue No. 58
Label
[printed and typed label on upper frame member, on verso]

3
Label
[green label on left frame member, on verso]

N.B. – This Label to be affixed to the back of the frame (not the canvas) of the Picture.
ROYAL ACADEMY OF ARTS
WINTER EXHIBITION, 1951-52
Name of Artist Sir Joshua Reynolds, P.R.A.,
Ser. No. 81
Title of Work Joanna Leigh, Mrs. R. B. Lloyd,
(R.A. 1776)
Name and Address of Owner {
The Rt. Hon. Lord Rothschild.
Merton Hall, Cambridge
(Please correct any particulars not properly given)
Label
[printed and typed label on stretcher cross bar, on verso]

ROYAL ACADEMY OF ARTS, LONDON, W.1
SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS
Artist Sir Joshua Reynolds
Title Portrait of Mrs. Lloyd
Serial No. 276
Owner The Hon. Jacob Rothschild
(Private Collection)
Serial No. [...]
This label to be affixed to the back of the fram [...]
of the picture. Please correct any particulars [...]
Label
[printed and typed label fragment on left frame member, on verso]

History

Provenance

  • Owned by the sitter, Mrs Richard Bennett Lloyd (b.1758); by descent to her daughter Mrs Ward (d. circa 1869), but in the care of her half-sister's husband Andrew Arcedeckne (b.1780, d.1849) in 1831 and her half-sister until 1869; by descent to her sons, including Reverend Ward; sold Reverend Ward sale, Christie's, London, 29 May 1869, lot no. 102 for £1000; bought at the Reverend Ward sale by Thomas Agnew & Sons Ltd; bought from Agnew's by Baron Lionel de Rothschild (b.1808, d.1879) for £1500; by descent to Lord Walter Rothschild (b.1868, d.1937); by descent to Lord Victor Rothschild (b.1910, d.1990); given to a Rothschild Family Trust

Exhibition history

  • Royal Academy, London, 1776, no. 234, as 'Portrait of a lady, whole length'
  • British Institute, London, 1831, no. 80
  • Royal Academy, London, 1873, no. 59
  • Royal Academy, London, 1887, no. 37
  • 'Sir Joshua Reynolds Loan Exhibition', 45 Park Lane, London, 1937, no. 79
  • 'Cent ans de Caricature anglaise', Palais du Louvre, Paris, 1938, no. 109
  • Christie’s, London for The Christie’s 250th Anniversary Exhibition, 17th June - 15th July 2016
  • 'The First Hundred Years of the Royal Academy 1769-1868', Royal Academy, London, 1951, no. 103
  • 'British Painting in the Eighteenth Century', British Council, The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Toronto, the Toldeo Museum of Art, 1957-58, no. 58
  • 'Exhibition of Works by Sir Joshua Reynolds P.R.A. 1723-1792' City of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham, 1961, no. 62
  • 'Royal Academy of Arts Bicentenary Exhibition. 1768-1968', Royal Academy, London, 1968, no. 82
  • 'Reynolds', Grand Palais, Paris, 1985, no. 49
  • 'Reynolds', Royal Academy, London, 1986, no. 103

Collection

  • Waddesdon (Rothschild Family)
  • On loan since 1995
Bibliography

Bibliography

  • C R Leslie, T. Taylor; The Life and Times of Sir Joshua Reynolds; 2 vols; London; John Murray; 1865; vol. 2, p. 155
  • Algernon Graves, William Vine Cronin; A History of the Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds; 4 vols; London; Henry Graves; 1899-1901; vol. 2, p.p. 589-90
  • Sir Walter Armstrong; Sir Joshua Reynolds; London; William Heinemann; 1900; pp. 96, 169, 218
  • Ellis Waterhouse; Reynolds; London; Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd.,; 1941; pp. 18, 66, pl. 77
  • British painting in the eighteenth century: an exhibition under the gracious patronage of Her Majesty the Queen.; The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Toronto, the Toledo Museum of Art, 1957-1958; London; The British Council; 1957; no. 58
  • John Woodward; Exhibition of works by Sir Joshua Reynolds P.R.A., 1723-1792; City of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham, 18 February - 19 March 1961; Birmingham; City of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery; 1961; no. 62
  • Malcolm Cormack, The Ledgers of Sir Joshua Reynolds, The Walpole Society, 42, 1968-1970, 105-69; pp. 157-58
  • Nicholas Penny; Reynolds; Grand Palais, Paris, 9 October - 16 December 1985; Royal Academy of Arts, London, 16 January - 31 March 1986; London; Weidenfeld & Nicolson; 1985; no. 103
  • Nathaniel Charles Jacob Rothschild, 4th Baron Rothschild, A Reynolds Beauty, Apollo, 141, May 1995, 49-50; p. 50, ill.
  • Edith Wharton; Three Novels of Old New York: The Age of Innocence, The Custom of the Country and The House of Mirth; London; Penguin Books; 1996; pp. 136-37
  • David Mannings, Martin Postle; Sir Joshua Reynolds: a Complete Catalogue of his Paintings; 2 vols; London; Yale University Press; 2000; p. 309, cat. no. 1137, pl. 81, fig. 1171
  • David Park Curry; James McNeill Whistler: Uneasy Pieces; Richmond; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Quantuck Lane Press; 2004; p. 100
  • Les collections exceptionnelles des Rothschild: Waddesdon Manor (Hors-série de l'Estampille/l'Objet d'Art, No. 14); Dijon; Éditions Faton; 2004; pp. 22-29
  • David Slater, The Fount of Inspiration: Mini Clark, the Art Workers' Club for Women, and Performances of American Girlhood, Winterthur Portfolio: A Journal of American Material Culture, 39, December 2004; p. 251
  • Clair Hughes; Dressed in Fiction; Oxford, New York; Berg Publishers; 2006; p. 147
  • Iris Wien; Joshua Reynolds: Mythos und Metapher; Munich; Wilhelm Fink Verlag; 2009; p. 162, ill.
  • Joseph Farington, Martin Postle; Memoirs of Sir Joshua Reynolds, PRA; London; Pallas Athene Publishers Ltd; 2005; p. 47, ill.
Other details

Subject person

  • Mrs Richard Bennett Lloyd, Sitter
  • Richard Bennett Lloyd, Named in text