Magnificent Reynolds' portrait bought for Compton Verney art gallery for £3,365,60
Portrait of Mrs Baldwin, one of the finest works by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) to come to auction in recent years, was bought today at Sotheby’s London, for Compton Verney, the new art gallery in Warwickshire. This is the second highest auction price ever realized for a work by the artist and is the highest sum paid to date for an acquisition for Compton Verney.
Reynolds’ striking portrait of the beautiful Mrs Baldwin will join Compton Verney’s collection of historic British portraits. The collection is one of six on permanent display at the new gallery, which was opened by the Prince of Wales in March 2004.
Painted in 1782, at the height of Reynolds’ career, Portrait of Mrs Baldwin brings together all the qualities that define Reynolds’ oeuvre. A dazzling demonstration of his painterly skills, the picture is also testament to Reynolds’ remarkable ability to infuse his portraits with enormous imaginative appeal. Portrait of Mrs Baldwin depicts one of the most glamorous, widely-esteemed women of her day in extravagant Persian costume.
Portrait of Mrs Baldwin is the most recent in an on-going purchasing programme for Compton Verney. All six collections – Neapolitan Art (1600-1800), German Medieval Sculpture and Painting, Chinese archaic bronzes and pottery, British Folk Art and historic British Portraits have been built up specifically for Compton Verney in the eleven years since the mansion was bought by the Peter Moores Foundation for development into an art gallery in 1993. The collections, which belong to the Compton Verney House Settlement, have been created almost entirely through auctions, a large part of these at Sotheby’s.
Previous important purchases include the medieval Limewood figure of an unknown Female Saint by the German sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider, bought at Sotheby’s New York in May 2001 for a record £2.067million, and a Neapolitan panorama, A Prospect of Posillipo with the Palazzo Donn’Anna and Naples in the Background, by the artist Gaspar van Wittel, known as Vanvitelli, bought at Sotheby’s London in December 2001 (£2,203.5million).