George Romney was one of the finest society portrait painters of the eighteenth century. Throughout his career Romney strove to be renowned for elevated historical and literary subjects but instead carved a niche for lyrical and less formal portraits than those of his contemporaries George Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough.
Born the son of a cabinet maker, Romney was apprenticed first to his father and then in 1755 to the portrait painter Christopher Steel. In 1773 Romney visited Rome to study Italian art, most notably that of Michelangelo and Raphael, establishing his portraiture studio in London upon his return in 1775. Between 1776 and 1795 his studio records detail that he had over 1500 sitters. Romney excelled, and delighted in painting glamorous society women, their poses inspired by the artist’s study of Italian art, and often depicted in allegorical or classical guise.