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All catalogue entries by Alexandra Gent, Ashok Roy, and Rachel Morrison 
Technical Bulletin Volume 35, 2014


Volume 35 of the Technical Bulletin is a special edition dedicated to the paintings of Sir Joshua Reynolds in the National Gallery and the Wallace Collection. The material complexities of Reynolds’s work have been the central point of interest behind an ambitious research project begun in November 2010. This collaboration between the Wallace Collection and the National Gallery’s Scientific Department was designed to study and analyse twelve pictures in the Wallace Collection, and make detailed technical comparison with five pictures in the National Gallery.

The results of the comprehensive analysis and scientific examination of these seventeen paintings are presented as catalogue entries. X-radiography has been carried out on all the paintings, and the majority were examined by digital infrared reflectography. Paint samples from all of the paintings have been investigated, allowing scrutiny of the complex, multilayered paint structures that characterise Reynolds’s unusually elaborate technique. Cross-sections have been studied by optical microscopy, supplemented by energy-dispersive X-ray analysis in the scanning electron microscope and attenuated total reflectance–FTIR microspectroscopic imaging. The binding medium has been analysed by transmission FTIR analysis and GC–MS and the dyestuffs in lake pigments by high performance liquid chromatography.

These investigations provide a complete material evaluation of the pictures, allowing conservators and curators to interpret the evolution of the stages of each composition, and to assess possible changes in appearance over time.

The research survey includes the first wide-ranging scientific analyses of the constitution of Reynolds’s experimental and idiosyncratic combinations of binding media, in which incompatible additives to drying oils, such as wax or resinous materials, have now been firmly identified.


Reynolds, painting technique, X-radiograph, infrared reflectography, conservation, cleaning, varnish, cross-section, photomicrograph, drying oil, wax, pine resin, mastic, copaiba balsam, copal, canvas, wood, metal, preparatory layers, sketches, underdrawing, dead colour, paint defects, vermilion, earth pigments, red lake, cochineal, ultramarine, Prussian blue, smalt, orpiment, Naples yellow, yellow lake, patent yellow, Cologne earth, bitumen, lead

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Cat. 1: Captain Robert Orme, 1756 (NG 681)
Cat. 2: The 4th Duke of Queensberry ('Old Q') as Earl of March, 1759–60, The Wallace Collection (P561)
Cat. 3: Anne, 2nd Countess of Albemarle, about 1760 (NG 1259)
Cat. 4: Miss Nelly O'Brien, about 1762-4, The Wallace Collection (P38)
Cat. 5: Mrs Susanna Hoare and Child, 1763–4, The Wallace Collection (P32)
Cat. 6: The Strawberry Girl, after 1773, The Wallace Collection (P40)
Cat. 7: Lady Cockburn and her Three Eldest Sons, 1773 (NG 2077)
Cat. 8: Miss Jane Bowles, 1775–6, The Wallace Collection (P36)

Download cats 1-8 (PDF 12.4MB)

Cat. 9: Mrs Elizabeth Carnac, 1775–6, The Wallace Collection (P35)
Cat. 10: Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness, after 1776, The Wallace Collection (P48)
Cat. 11: Mrs Mary Nesbitt, 1781, The Wallace Collection (P43)
Cat. 12: Lady Elizabeth Seymour-Conway and Frances, Countess of Lincoln, 1781–4, The Wallace Collection (P31 and P33)
Cat. 13: Colonel Tarleton, 1782 (NG 5985)
Cat 14: Mrs Mary Robinson ('Perdita'), 1783-4, The Wallace Collection (P45)
Cat 15: Lord Heathfield of Gibraltar, 1787 (NG 111)
Cat 16: Mrs Jane Braddyll, 1788, The Wallace Collection (P47)

Download cats 9-12 (PDF 23.4MB)

Download notes and bibliography (PDF 3.3MB)

To cite this article we suggest using

Gent, A., Roy, A. and Morrison, R., ‘Catalogue’, National Gallery Technical Bulletin Vol. 35, 2014, pp. 32–96.

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