Portrait of Master Bunbury

Sir Joshua Reynolds, English, 1723 - 1792

Made in Great Britain, Europe


Oil on canvas

30 1/8 × 25 1/8 inches (76.5 × 63.8 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 278, European Art 1500-1850, second floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
The John Howard McFadden Collection, 1928

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The sitter is Reynolds's three-year-old godson, whose attention the artist captured during the long sittings by telling fairy tales.

Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    The most honored British painter of his time, and founder and first president of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1768, Joshua Reynolds stood at the vital center of the social and intellectual life of late eighteenth-century London. A renowned portraitist, faithful in descriptive detail but endowing his sitters with rare grace and elevation, he painted the most august and elegant figures of his day. A more tender note entered his art when his subjects were children, whose vulnerable, trusting natures he captured with exquisite sympathy. Here, the result is particularly intimate as the three-year-old boy is the artist's own godson, Henry Edward Bunbury, the second son of dear friends, whose enthralled attention Reynolds captured during their sittings by telling fairy tales. The artist kept the painting by his side all his life. Christopher Riopelle, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 184.

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