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Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1723–1792
Sarah Campbell
Former Title(s):
Miss Sarah Campbell, later Mrs. Woodhouse [1985, Cormack, YCBA Concise Catalogue]
1777 to 1778
Materials & Techniques:
Oil on canvas
50 1/4 x 40 inches (127.6 x 101.6 cm)

Label on verso, upper center: “Thos. Agnew & Sons Ltd. | [logo] No 35565 | By Appointment | To His Late Majesty King George VI | Fine Art Publishers Thos. Agnew | & Sons Ltd. London | London, 43 Old Bond Street, | Piccadilly, W1X 4BA”; upper center: “[blue logo for The British Council] | Fine Arts Department | Artist Reynolds. | Title Miss Sarah Campbell | Collection The Trustees of the Lord Hillingdon | Exhibition Exhibition of British Painting | (1720-1960) U.S.S.R. 1960 | Catalogue No. 21”; upper center, by hand: “Mellon | #192”; upper left: “Pitt & Scott Ltd | London | F. [handwritten] 4818 | [typed] 4715”

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
clouds | costume | hair | landscape | light | portrait | sky | woman
Associated People:
Wodehouse (nee Campbell), Sarah
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

Unlike Thomas Gainsborough, who favored a close imitation of nature to capture likeness, Joshua Reynolds advocated a generalizing style of painting to lift his portraits away from the contemporary moment. Although he claimed to seek a more timeless style, he was also an experimental painter who privileged immediate and temporary visual effects over the long-term stability of his paintings, often using pigments known to fade or degrade over time. This, however, is an exceptionally well-preserved picture, still retaining the reds in the flesh that have faded in many of his other portraits. Campbell’s portrait was commissioned by her elder brother, John Campbell, first Baron Cawdor of Castlemartin, a strong supporter of war against the thirteen American colonies that had recently issued their Declaration of Independence when Miss Campbell sat to Reynolds. Gallery label for installation of ycba collection, 2016

Sarah Campbell was a member of a wealthy branch of the Campbell family of Cawdor Castle in the Highlands of Scotland, and of Stackpole Court in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Sarah Campbell's father, Pryse Campbell of Cawdor, and her mother and namesake both died when she was still a girl, and this portrait was commissioned along with a full-length portrait of himself by her eldest brother, the Old Etonian, army officer, and moderate Whig politician John Campbell (later 1st Baron Cawdor of Castlemartin). In 1782, Sarah Campbell married Thomas Wodehouse, a lawyer. The dress probably belonged with other lavish studio props and costumes that Reynolds kept in his London studio.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2005

Sir Walter Armstrong, Sir Joshua Reynolds, first president of the Royal Academy, Scribner, London ; New York, 1900, p. 198, Folio A N 38 [ORBIS]

British Institution, Catalogue of pictures by Italian, Spanish, Flemish, Dutch, French and English masters, With which the proprietors have favoured the institution , William Nicol, London, June 1847, p. 14, no. 148, Fiche B1244 Fiche N.4.2.664 (SML) [ORBIS]

Christie's Sale Catalogue : Highly Important English Pictures c.1600 - c. 1850 : 23 June 1972, Christie's, 1972, pp. 58, 59, lot 115, Auction Catalogues (YCBA) [YCBA]

Christie's sale catalogue : Pictures by Old Masters : 1 June 1934, Christie's, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, June 1, 1934, p. 11, Lot 21, Fiche B51 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Malcolm Cormack, Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 184, 185, N590.2 A83 (YCBA) [YCBA]

William Cotton Esq., A Catalogue of the Portraits Painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds, Knt., P.R.A., Compiled from his autograph memorandum books, and from printed catalogues , Longman, London and Plymouth, UK, 1857, p. 14, NJ18 R36 C65 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Exhibition of works by [the] Old Masters and by deceased Old Masters of the British school including a special collection of works by Holbein and his school : Winter Exhibition, 11th year, , Royal Academy of Arts, 1880, p. 29, no. 142, Fiche B116 [ORBIS]

Catherine M. Gordon, British paintings Hogarth to Turner, Frederick Warne, London, 1981, p. 57, ND466 G67 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Algernon Graves, A history of the works of Sir Joshua Reynolds, P.R.A., Henry Graves & Co., London, UK, 1899, p. 148, NJ18 R36 G73 OVERSIZE (YCBA) Also available on Microfiche: Fiche B6 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Elsa D'Esterre Keeling, Sir Joshua Reynolds, P.R.A., Scribner, London ; New York, NY, 1902, p. 139, J18 R336 902K (SML) Also available on line: http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924014894251 [ORBIS]

Charles Robert Leslie, Life and times of Sir Joshua Reynolds, with notices of some of his contemporaries. , John Murray, London, 1865, pp. 213, 224, NJ18 R36 L47 (YCBA) Also available on Microfche: The Nineteenth Century: Visual Arts ; Pos: Fiche.N.4.2.357) (SML Fiche B1244 Fiche.N.4.2.357) [YCBA]

David Mannings, Sir Joshua Reynolds, a complete catalogue of his paintings , Yale University Press, New Haven, 2000, v. 1, p. 119 ; v. 2, p. 489, no. 305, fig. 1263, NJ18 R36 A12 M35 2000 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Painting in England 1630-1870, June 5th - July 13, 1973 , Thos. Agnew and Sons Ltd., June 5 1973 -July 13, 1973, pp. [17-18], no. 20, Dealer Catalogues [ORBIS]

Ellis Waterhouse, Reynolds, Kegan Paul, Trench Trübner, London, 1941, p. 86, NJ18 R36 W37 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Yale Center for British Art, Selected paintings, drawings & books, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1977, p. 31, N590.2 A82 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Zhivopis' Velikobritanii, Iskusstvo, Moskva, 1960, p. 28, no. 21, ND464 .A5 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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