THE AGE OF INNOCENCE
by Sir Joshua Reynolds
Joshua Reynolds (RIN ulz) was born in Plympton, Devonshire in England. His
father, who was the headmaster of the grammar school in his town, was his
When he was twelve he painted a portrait on sailcloth working with the paint
they used in the shipyard. It was not a great painting, but it did
demonstrate his talent, and his father allowed him to become an apprentice to an
Joshua Reynolds self-portrait
He studied with Thomas Hudson in London and became a better artist than
his teacher. Hudson became jealous and dismissed him as his pupil.
Reynolds studied the works of different artists in Italy for three years and
became one of the best portrait painters of his time.
He knew historical pictures didn't sell well, but people did like to
have pictures of themselves; portraits. By the time he was 32 years old he
had painted 100 portraits for people.
Thomas Gainsborough was another portrait artist in England. Both became
famous, but Reynolds profited more from his work than Gainsborough.
Reynolds was knighted by King George III (the Third) in 1768 and he became
Sir Joshua Reynolds. Later he was made "painter to the king".
He enjoyed painting portraits of children. The featured work on this page, "Age
of Innocence" is said to be a painting of Reynold's grand-niece, Theophilia
One day as he was painting a picture of another child he became blind in his
left eye. He knew his days as an artist would be coming to an end. Two years
later when he died, he was blind.