Sir Joshua Reynolds PRA, Portrait of Sir William Chambers, R.A.

Portrait of Sir William Chambers, R.A., ca. 1780

Sir Joshua Reynolds PRA (1723 - 1792)

RA Collection: Art

Sir Joshua Reynolds, founding President of the Royal Academy, painted this portrait of Sir William Chambers RA as a pendant to his own self-portrait (1780). It is thought that the two hung either side of the chimney in the original Assembly Room of the Royal Academy at Somerset House.

Chambers played an important role in the formation of the Royal Academy. Not only was he the architect of Somerset House, he was also instrumental in persuading George III to grant royal patronage to the Academy and served as the Royal Academy's Treasurer for twenty-eight years from its foundation in 1768.

Reynolds emphasises Chambers' professional status by depicting him at work, porte crayon in hand. In the left background is his latest architectural achievement, the Strand front of Somerset House.

Object details

Portrait of Sir William Chambers, R.A.
ca. 1780
Object type
Oil on panel

1290 mm x 1032 mm x 40 mm

Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
Given by Sir Joshua Reynolds PRA 1780

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