This splendid two-volume catalogue of the paintings of Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), the father of British portrait painting and first president of the Royal Academy, represents one of the most important scholarly projects of recent decades in the field of eighteenth-century British art. Reynolds's paintings-well over two thousand-are scattered across the world in hundreds of public and private collections and libraries. The catalogue includes illustrations of nearly all of the artist's works and offers a critical reexamination of each painting, taking full advantage of modern methods and the findings of conservation experts. David Mannings provides the entries for the portraits, and Martin Postle contributes the entries for Reynolds's historical and fancy pictures. Taking into account two centuries of art criticism and the observations of leading modern authorities, the catalogue also considers such enlightening documents as the artist's sitter-books and ledgers.
It re-examines Reynolds's studio practice and procedures, working methods, use of assistants and prices, and it delineates with new clarity the distinction between Reynolds's work and that of his many followers and imitators.
David Mannings is senior lecturer and head of the Department of History of Art at King's College, University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Martin Postle is assistant keeper of British Art at the Tate Gallery in London.