Featured Artist in Collection

George Romney (1734-1802)

Portrait of William Tighe

George Romney was an English portrait painter. From the age of fifteen, he was taught art informally by a local watchmaker called John Williamson, but his studies began in earnest in 1755, when he went to Kendal, at the age of 21, for a four-year apprenticeship with local artist Christopher Steele—a portraitist who had himself studied with the distinguished French artist Carlo Vanloo. It was in 1763 that Romney entered his painting The Death of General Wolfe into a Royal Society of Arts competition. He was awarded the second prize. In 1765 he again won the second prize of fifty guineas (roughly $64) in the Royal Society of Arts competition. 1769 was a breakthrough year—he exhibited a large portrait of Sir George Warren and family at the Free Society of Artists, which was greatly admired and helped to lay the foundation of his future popularity. In 1770 he started to exhibit his work at the Chartered Society of Artists. He met Emma Hamilton in 1782, who became his muse. He painted over sixty portraits of her in various poses, sometimes playing the part of historical or mythological figures.