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The Works Of Sir Joshua Reynolds, Knt. Late President Of The Royal Academy: Containing His Discourses, Idlers, A Journey To Flanders And Holland, (Now First Published,) And His Commentary On Du Fresnoy's Art Of Painting; Printed From His Revised Copies, (With His Last Corrections And Additions,) In Two Volumes. To Which Is Prefixed An Account Of The Life And Writings Of The Author, By Edmond Malone, Esq. One Of His Executors. ... Volume The First. (Second.)

Sir Joshua Reynolds PRA

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Uniform Title

[Works., 1797.]

Variant Title

Idler; 76, 79, 82 (1759 September - November)


London:: Printed For T. Cadell, Jun. and W. Davies, In The Strand., M DCC XCVII.

Physical Description

2 vols.; 294 mm. (Folio)

General Note

Vol. I: [ii], lxxvi, [vi], iv, [2-]362 p., frontis. (port.). - Vol. II: [iv], 373, [19] p.


Vol. I: {Title-p.; Dedic.] - Some Account Of The Life And Writings Of Sir Joshua Reynolds - Contents - Discourse I-XV - The Idler, No. 76, 79, 82. - Vol. II: [Title-p.] - Contents - A Journey to Flanders and Holland - The Art of Painting, by C. A. Du Fresnoy, translated into English by the Rev. William Mason [with original Latin text subjoined] - Annotations on Du Fresnoy's Poem - Du Fresnoy's Sentiments on the principal Painters of the two last Ages - Parallel between Poetry and Painting - Chronological List of Painters, with short characters [&c.] - Alphabetical List of Painters - General Index.

Responsibility Note

The frontispiece portrait of Reynolds is signed as painted by Reynolds and engraved by Caroline Watson.

The publication carries a dedication from Sir Joshua to the King, dated 1778.


J. Barrell, The political theory of painting from Reynolds to Hazlitt (1986); R.W. Uphaus, 'The ideology of Reynolds' Discourses on Art', in Eighteenth-century studies, 12 (1978), p.59-73; F.W. Hilles, The literary career of Sir Joshua Reynolds (1936; repr. 1967); W.J. Hipple, The beautiful, the sublime and the picturesque in 18th-century British aesthetic theory (1957); G.L. Greenway, Some predecessors of Sir Joshua Reynolds in the criticism of the fine arts [dissertation, Yale Univy.] (1930).

A study of Malone was P. Martin, Edmond Malone (1995).

Summary Note

In his three letters to The Idler in 1759, his first published writings, Reynolds attacks mechanic adherence to rule and mechanic imitation, argues for the need of a 'grand style' in painting (a liberal art), and defines beauty as a product of generality rather than particularity.

In his Discourses, delivered to the Royal Academy between 1769 and 1790, Reynolds considers issues such as the contrasting demands of imitation and genius, good taste and the grand style, feeling and reason; but in his 1780 discourse, on the occasion of the Academy's move to new premises, he speaks of the place of the arts in national life; and his discourse for 1788 is an appreciation of the recently deceased Gainsborough.


Presented by the Countess of Inchiquin [i.e. Reynolds's niece, Mary Palmer] through Edmond Malone, 30 December 1797 (see RA Council Minutes, II, 346).

Copy Note

Revised inscription in ink on front endpaper reads, 'The Countess of Inchiquin requests that the President and Council of the Royal Academy will be pleased to accept of these volumes, and to give them a place in their Library, as a slight memorial of Their first President, The Author.' Originally this read, '

Binding Note

Contemporary straight-grain black morocco; spine lettered, 'The Works Of Sir J. Reynolds Vol. I (II)'. A signed binding by Henry Walther.

Name as Subject


Painting - Theory
Essays - Lectures - Treatises - Great Britain - 18th century