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Sir Joshua Reynolds, P.R.A. (1723-1792)
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Sir Joshua Reynolds, P.R.A. (1723-1792)

Portrait of Mrs Charles Symmons, three-quarter-length, in a white dress, holding a locket and a book, in a landscape with a lily by her side

Details
Sir Joshua Reynolds, P.R.A. (1723-1792)
Portrait of Mrs Charles Symmons, three-quarter-length, in a white dress, holding a locket and a book, in a landscape with a lily by her side
oil on canvas
50½ x 40½ in. (128.3 x 102.8 cm.)
Provenance
The sitter's daughter, Mrs William Vernon, Hanbury Hall, Worcestershire.
Mrs L.R.J. Thomas, Bath; Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, 10 May 1961, lot 39.
Literature
A. Graves and W. Cronin, A History of the Works of Sir Sir Joshua Reynolds, I, 1899, p. 320.
D. Mannings, Sir Joshua Reynolds, A Complete Catalogue of his Paintings, New Haven and London, 2000, I, p.198, no. 652, II, fig. 1026.
Special Notice

VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price plus buyer's premium.

Lot Essay

Elizabeth Foley was the daughter of John Foley, of Ridgeway, Pembrokeshire, and the sister of Sir Thomas Foley (1757-1833) a naval officer who distinguished himself at the Battle of the Nile serving under Admiral Nelson, and who was later promoted to the rank of rear-admiral and then appointed Commander-in-Chief in the Downs. She married Dr Charles Symmons (1749-1826) in 1779.

This picture was painted in 1771 and eight appointments with the artist are recorded in that year. The sitter's husband, a man of letters, had been born at Pembroke. He was the son of John Symmons, Member of Parliament for Llastinan (1746-61). After studying at Glasgow and Cambridge he was ordained into the church and was appointed to the rectory of Narberth in Pembrokeshire. In 1787 he printed a volume of sermons and he was appointed to the prebendal stall of Clydey in St. David's Cathedral in 1789. He was later appointed to the rectory of Lampeter Velfrey, in the diocese of St.David's, Pembrokeshire.

Symmons was a considerable scholar and a man with forthright political views. Among his works are the dramatic poem Constantia (1800), a Life of Milton prefixed to an edition of Milton's prose works (1806), the Aeneis of Virgil translated (1817), a revised edition of which was published in 1820, and a Life of Shakespeare, with some remarks upon his dramatic writings prefixed to the edition of Shakespeare by Samuel Weller Singer (1826).
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