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George Romney Art

English, 1734-1802

George Romney is best known as one of British society’s foremost portrait painters of the 18th century, rivaling other widely acknowledged portraitists such as Thomas Gainsborough and Joshua Reynolds.

Born in 1734 in Dalton-on-Furness, Romney was the son of a cabinetmaker. In 1755, he began his artistic career as an apprentice to portrait painter Christopher Steele before traveling to northern England to establish a painting studio in Kendal. Romney’s talent in portraiture proved fruitful. By 1762, he had made enough money to set up a studio in London, where he became renowned for an “ability to paint flattering images regardless of personality.” 

During the 1760s, Romney had hoped to become a history painter but was unsuccessful. To refine and improve his technique, he traveled to Rome in 1773, where he spent two years studying the Old Masters, including Titian, Correggio and Raphael. While there, he was also influenced by the works of Swiss painter Henry Fuseli.  

Upon his return to London, in 1775, and with his newly honed painting style, Romney became even more popular among the British aristocracy and nobility. Although his primary aspiration was to make a living as a historical painter, Romney was in demand as a portraitist. His favorite subjects were children and women, particularly his muse, Emma Hart — who later became Lady Hamilton and mistress of Admiral Lord Nelson. Romney painted several Romantic portraits and drew many sketches of Lady Hamilton, whom he considered to represent the ideal of feminine beauty.

In his later years, Romney produced several portraits and drawings of Shakespearean subjects for John Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery in 1790. 

Romney’s figurative works, portraits and prints are held in collections of numerous major museums and galleries, including the National Portrait Gallery in London, the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Frick Collection in New York. In 2002, an exhibition commemorating the bicentenary of Romney’s death was organized by the National Museums Liverpool in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery and the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Gardens in San Marino, California. 

On 1stDibs, find a range of original George Romney drawings, paintings and prints.

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Artist: George Romney
Portrait of Lady Caroline Price
By George Romney
Located in Miami, FL
DESCRIPTION: Perhaps the best Romney in private hands. If Vogue Magazine existed in the late 18th century, this image of Lady Caroline Price would be ...
Category

1970s Old Masters George Romney Art

Materials

Canvas, Oil

Study - Hon. Catherine Trevor, Viscountess Hampden with Verso Lady Anne Gower
By George Romney
Located in London, GB
PROVENANCE Private Collection, England Colonel Charles William Garnde Walker (1882 - 1974) Thence by descent to; Sir Michael Walker (1916 - 2001) Thence by descent We are grateful t...
Category

1770s Old Masters George Romney Art

Materials

Laid Paper, Pen

Charlotte, Lady Milnes
By George Romney
Located in Mount Vernon, NY
Description: Antique signed mezzotint by Henry Scott Bridgwater (1864-1950) after painting "Charlotte, Lady Milnes," c. 1788-1792, by British artist George Romney (1734-1802) who was...
Category

Late 19th Century George Romney Art

Materials

Engraving, Mezzotint

Oil Painting by George Romney "Portraits of a Lady and Gentleman"
By George Romney
Located in Mere, GB
Oil Painting Pair circle of by George Romney "Portraits of a Lady and Gentleman" 1734 - 1802 Romney was a leadway society portrait painter of the Georgian ear...
Category

1780s George Romney Art

Materials

Oil

18th century portrait drawing of the Rev. William Atkinson
By George Romney
Located in London, GB
Collections: Henry Scipio Reitlinger (1882-1950); Private collection, UK to 2019 Framed dimensions: 14.50 x 15.38 inches This drawing is one of only two known portrait drawings by Romney (as opposed to preliminary studies for portraits) and is dated by Alex Kidson as being executed no later than 1769. It is likely that the present drawing was originally part of a sketchbook, now largely dismembered (Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal), which Kidson notes, contained some of Romney’s most beautiful early drawings. This drawing, and a second sheet formerly with Andrew Wyld, have been identifying as depicting the Rev. William Atkinson...
Category

18th Century Old Masters George Romney Art

Materials

Pencil

18th century ink study for the Leveson-Gower Children
By George Romney
Located in London, GB
Collections: J. Goodfriend, USA. Brown wash and pencil on laid paper Framed dimensions: 13.25 x 11.75 inches This powerful drawing was made at the time that Romney was painting the famous group portrait of the Gower Children now in Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal. Romney was a bold and incisive draughtsman who made numerous rich brown ink studies, principally for historical compositions; by contrast, comparatively few studies linked directly to his portraits survive. The existence of a group of studies for the Gower Children underscores its importance to Romney. The sitters were the five youngest of the eight children of Granville, 2nd Earl Gower who, at the time the portrait was commissioned, was President of the Council in Lord North’s government and one of the best-connected and most influential people in England. The present drawing which is a large scale treatment of the composition in its final form perfectly distils Romney’s conceit: the younger children dancing whilst their elder sister, in the guise of a Bacchante plays the tambourine. The bold and dramatic study underlines both the artistic confidence and classical grandeur Romney gained during his trip to Italy between 1773 and 1775. The commission from Granville, 2nd Earl Gower to paint five of his children came shortly after Romney’s Continental tour. The initial idea, as represented by the present drawing, seems to have been to paint Lady Anne, the figure on the right of the composition playing the tambourine, who was the youngest of Gower’s first four children by his second wife Lady Louisa Egerton and who married the Rev. Edward Vernon Harcourt, later Archbishop of York, with three of her younger half-siblings by Gower’s third wife, Lady Susanna Stewart: at the left Lady Georgina, who became Countess of St Germans following her marriage to the Hon. William Eliot; at the right Lady Charlotte Sophia, later Duchess of Beaufort and in the centre Lady Susanna, later Countess of Harrowby. Romney added a fifth child to the finished portrait, Gower’s son: Lord Granville, later created Viscount Granville and Earl Granville. In Italy Romney had produced a large number of studies of classical antiquities and old master paintings. The commission from Gower offered Romney the opportunity to explore a complex multi-figural group, putting into practice the kind of ambitious classical quotations that Reynolds was currently exploiting. In 1773 Reynolds had completed the remarkable group portrait of the Montgomery Sisters, now in the Tate Gallery, London, which showed them adorning a herm of the Roman god Hymen; the composition used a garland to link the three figures who were shown in classical costume dancing at the foot of a Roman sculpture. Scholars have long pointed to a similar sources for the two compositions: the works of Nicolas Poussin. Whilst the Montgomery Sisters is based, in part, on a Bacchanal now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, the Gower Children has always been associated with Poussin’s Dance to the Music of Time, now in the Wallace Collection, London. It seems more likely that Romney was looking to an antique source in the form of the Borghese Dancers, a Roman relief, then in Palazzo Borghese in Rome. Romney would have seen the relief of interlocking, dancing maidens and would also have known Guido Reni’s Aurora...
Category

18th Century Old Masters George Romney Art

Materials

Ink, Pencil

Portrait of a Lady, Oil on canvas, 18th English Century Painting
By George Romney
Located in London, GB
Oil on canvas Image size: 22 x 20 inches (22.75 x 51 cm) Pierced gilt frame This half-length portrait shows the sitter with her head and eyes looking over her shoulder, to the right. She is dressed in a delicate blue dress and blue shawl with her hair tied up away from her face. The composition of the painting is simple but effective; the woman stands out and is the undeniable focus of the viewer's attention. George Romney's artistic style is characterised by its focus on the beauty and elegance of human forms. Here, one can appreciate his ability to capture the delicacy of facial features and the soft textures of clothing. In addition, Romney has used a soft and diffuse brushstroke technique that creates a light and soft effect in the work. The dark and diffused background highlights the young woman's figure even more, creating an effect of depth and realism. It is possible that this sitter is Miss Anne Dutton. George Romney Romney was a 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...
Category

18th Century George Romney Art

Materials

Canvas, Oil

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Previously Available Items
18th Century, English Portrait
By George Romney
Located in Newport Beach, CA
Large, softly painted, oil-on-canvas portrait of a British nobleman from the circle of important English artist, George Romney (1734-1802). The piece is framed by a wonderful, hand-c...
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English 18th century portrait of Richard Oliver, 1791
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Portrait of Richard Oliver, three-quarter length, seated in a green velvet armchair, wearing a navy jacket with gold buttons over a white shirt and silk waistcoat...
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18th Century Old Masters George Romney Art

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Canvas, Oil

18th century Portrait of a Gentleman
By George Romney
Located in Bath, Somerset
Portrait of a gentleman, believed to be Captain John Stables, three-quarter length, seated in an interior on a green velvet chair, wearing a red jacket with gold buttons and with brown breeches. c.1785. A reference to a portrait of a Captain...
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English 18th century portrait of Mr Holland, c. 1785
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Isherwood Fine Art are pleased to present this fine portrait of a Mr Holland by English artist George Romney (1734-1802). Oil on canvas in the original English Saunders 18th century frame. c.1785. This portrait is featured in Alex Kidson's ', George Romney: A Complete Catalogue of his Paintings', no. 666, volume 1, page 313, 2015. Mr Holland was recorded by Romney as living in Wimpole Street, London and in Romney's rough lists, this portrait is assigned to 1785, the year for which his sitter book is missing. Romney recorded being paid his 20 guinea fee by Mr Holland on 10 September 1786, and there is an appointment recorded with him on 15 September that year: perhaps a finishing session or Mr Holland collecting the picture. This portrait is believed to be of Richard Holland...
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George Romney art for sale on 1stDibs.

Find a wide variety of authentic George Romney art available for sale on 1stDibs. You can also browse by medium to find art by George Romney in oil paint, paint, canvas and more. Much of the original work by this artist or collective was created during the 18th century and is mostly associated with the Old Masters style. Not every interior allows for large George Romney art, so small editions measuring 5 inches across are available. Customers who are interested in this artist might also find the work of George Morland, Sir Godfrey Kneller, and Studio of Sir Peter Lely. George Romney art prices can differ depending upon medium, time period and other attributes. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at $150 and tops out at $1,495,000, while the average work can sell for $12,178.

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Questions About George Romney Art
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    George Romney studied under Christopher Steel from 1755-1757. Romney then went on to become one of the most fashionable portrait artists of his day. You can shop a selection of George Romney’s pieces from some of the world’s top art dealers on 1stDibs.

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