On the Reynolds trail in the RA archive

Published 25 February 2015

On the eve of a major exhibition in London dedicated to Sir Joshua Reynolds, we delve into the RA’s archive to learn more about the Academy’s founding president.

  • In March 2015, a new exhibition about Sir Joshua Reynolds PRA opens at the Wallace Collection.

    Appointed the first President of the Royal Academy when it was founded in 1768, Reynolds was considered the foremost portrait painter of the 18th century and his published Discourses on Art are still in print today.

    The Royal Academy’s archive is a treasure trove of information about Reynolds, so ahead of the exhibition’s opening, we took a trip behind the scenes with Archivist Mark Pomeroy to learn more about this celebrated painter and thinker – and about the early days of the Academy.

  • Video

    Pall Mall: The Academy's first home

    Royal Academy Archivist Mark Pomeroy looks through a 19th-century scrapbook to reveal illustrations of the Academy’s first home, and its founder Members.

  • Video

    Thomas Gainsborough's deathbed letter to Sir Joshua Reynolds

    Royal Academy Archivist Mark Pomeroy reads the letter that Thomas Gainsborough wrote to Sir Joshua Reynolds on his deathbed, after years of ill-will between the two Academicians.

  • Video

    A peek inside Joshua Reynolds's diary

    Royal Academy Archivist Mark Pomeroy takes a look inside one of Joshua Reynolds’s diaries, one of many held in the RA Collection - a fascinating snapshot of 18th century high society.

  • Video

    A lock of hair

    Royal Academy Archivist Mark Pomeroy finds a mysterious lock of hair tucked into the back of one of Joshua Reynolds’s 18th-century diaries. Could it be a romantic keepsake?

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