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Sir Joshua Reynolds, one of the most successful artists of the 18th century, painted at least 27 self-portraits in the course of his career. This was his penultimate self-portrait, completed in 1788 when he was around 65. It was a popular work, or which numerous versions and copies of this composition survive. This is a very good version of about the same date as the original (RCT), likely painted by the artist and his studio assistants. Reynolds’ friend and first biographer Edmond Malone recalled how the self-portrait was ‘extremely like him and exhibits him exactly as he appeared in his latter days, in domestick life’. Unlike his earlier self-portraits, Reynolds now wears a powdered wig, perhaps to conceal his thinning hair. Reynolds shows himself attired both modestly and appropriately During the latter years of Reynolds’ life, he experienced a dramatic deterioration of his sight and hearing and made a number of concessions to his physical failings in his self-portraits.

English Heritage, Kenwood



Self Portrait




oil on canvas


H 76.2 x W 63.5 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Iveagh Bequest, 1929

Work type



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English Heritage, Kenwood

Hampstead Lane, London, Greater London NW3 7JR England

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