George Romney (artist)|
British, 1734 - 1802
Miss Juliana Willoughby, 1781-1783
oil on canvas
overall: 92.1 x 71.5 cm (36 1/4 x 28 1/8 in.)
Andrew W. Mellon Collection
Object 10 of 12
Depicting the only child of an Oxfordshire baronet, Miss Juliana Willoughby proves George Romney’s gifts in its understated simplicity. The entire color scheme, centered on the pure white dress, is nothing more or less than pastel tints of the three primary hues: red, yellow, and blue. The composition is as elegant as the tonality. The sun bonnet rises upward to the left at an angle exactly opposite that of the hillside’s steep slope. When Juliana first sat for Romney in May 1781, she was wearing a baby’s cap, evident now only in X-radiographs. Seven more posing sessions and two years later, she was six years old; so, Romney added the more mature, brimmed bonnet.
Introverted and neurotic, Romney refused to join the Royal Academy even though he was widely sought after and well paid for his ability to portray women and children with tender affection. Raised in rural Lancashire, Romney was nearly forty when, in 1772-1775, he could refine his talents in Italy, primarily Rome, before returning to London.
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