We use cookies to improve your experience online. By using our website, you agree to the use of cookies as described in our cookies policy.

The Life Of Sir Joshua Reynolds, Ll D, F.R.S, F.S.A. &c. Late President Of The Royal Academy. Comprising Original Anecdotes Of Many Distinguished Persons, His Contemporaries; And A Brief Analysis Of His Discourses. By James Northcote, Esq. R.A. - The Second Edition, Revised And Augmented. In Two Volumes. Vol. I. (II.)

James Northcote RA

RA Collection: Book

Record number




London:: Printed For Henry Colburn, Conduit-Street, -, 1819.

Physical Description

2 vols.; 217 mm. (Octavo.)

General Note

Vol. I: [2], xi, [1], 339, [1] p., frontis. (port.), [1] pl. (fold.). - Vol. II: [2], 364 p., frontis. (port.), [2] pl. (one fold.).


Vol. I: [Half-t., front., t.p.] - Preface To The First Edition - Plates Which Illustrate These Volumes - [Text and pl.]; [colophon] - Errata. Volume I (II). - Vol. II: [Half-t., front., t.p., fold. pl.] - [Text and pl.] - Appendix. Memoir Of William Gandy - List Of The Historical And Fancy Subjects, Together With Some Of The Most Illustrious And Eminent Portraits, Executed By Sir Joshua Reynolds - General Index; [colophon].

Responsibility Note

In Volume I the frontispiece is captioned as painted by Reynolds, drawn by John Jackson and engraved by Robert Cooper; the folding plate, as painted by Sam. Prout and engraved by J. Storer. In Volume II the frontispiece is captioned as drawn by John Jackson and engraved by Henry Meyer; the other two plates are unsigned.

The frontispieces and the folding plate of Volume I carry the publisher's imprint of Henry Colburn, and the date.

The printer is named on the versos of the title pages and in the colophons: 'J. Gillet, Printer, Crown Court, Fleet Street, London'.


Northcote's memories of his own life were recorded in Conversations with W. Hazlitt (ed. F. Swinnerton, 1952) and J. Ward (1901).

On the publisher, Henry Colburn, see J. Sutherland, 'Henry Colburn, publisher', in Publishing History, 19 (1986), p.59-84.

Summary Note

Northcote had been a pupil of Reynolds. He first published his Memoirs of Sir Joshua Reynolds in 1813, and a Supplement to the memoirs in 1815. The Life Of Sir Joshua Reynolds ... Second Edition Revised and Augmented had first been published in 1818. The date of June 24 1813 appears on the two frontispieces and on the folding plate of Volume I.

Northcote's was the first full biography of Reynolds. Here he gives a favorable account of Reynolds's career and achievements; but in his later Conversations with Hazlitt (published in journals between 1826 and 1829 and collectedly in 1830) he was more critical of the painter's personal life and character.

The frontispiece of Volume I shows a self-portrait of Reynolds; the folding plate shows Plympton Grammar School. In Volume II the frontispiece shows a portrait of Northcote by J. Jackson; the folding plate, a facsimile of a letter from Reynolds to Northcote; the second plate, a Weeping Muse at a tomb.


A reprint was published in 1971 (London: Cornmarket Press).

Binding Note

19th-century half red morocco, red cloth-covered boards; gilt-decorated spine lettered 'Lives Of Sir J. Reynolds & Wm Gandy. Vol. I. (II.)'.

Name as Subject


Painters - Artists - Great Britain - History - 18th century
Biography - Anecdotes - Great Britain - 19th century


Henry Colburn, publisher
Sir Joshua Reynolds PRA, source artist
Samuel Prout, source artist
John Jackson RA, source artist, draughtsman
Robert Cooper, engraver
James Sargant Storer, engraver
Henry Hoppner Meyer, engraver
John Gillet, printer