Reynolds painting saved for Devon
24 March 2014
A successful fundraising auction by the Friends has ensured that a portrait commemorating the friendship of two of Devon’s most famous artists has been saved for Devon. With over £12,000 raised at the art auction last Wednesday and assistance from the V&A Purchase Grant Fund, the Portrait of the artist Francis Hayman (1708-1776) by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) can be added to Exeter’s art collection.
Rosie Denham, Exeter’s Lead Councillor for Economy and Culture, said “Reynolds and Hayman are both artists of national stature and we are delighted that this painting can be enjoyed by their fellow Devonians. We are very grateful to Friends of the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery and to the V&A Purchase Grant Fund for their continued support helping enrich the city’s collections. Without their support such wonderful additions would not be possible.”
About the portrait
The portrait will form part of a display of Francis Hayman’s work that is planned for 2015. A copy of the larger version at the Royal Academy, it marks a transition in the careers of both artist and sitter. At this critical point in time, Hayman’s portrait practice was in decline as his rococo style fell out of fashion. Reynolds, by contrast, rose to be the most successful and influential portraitist of the eighteenth century. Nevertheless, the two men remained on friendly terms as through the 1760s both worked to establish a state sponsored academy of artists. When the Royal Academy was eventually founded in 1768 by George III, with Reynolds as President, Hayman was awarded the post of librarian. Hayman was also given a prominent position (seated centre left) in Johann Zoffany’s 1772 group portrait of the Academy members.
Local artists support RAMM
The success of the Friends auction was made possible by the generosity of sixty local artists who donated their work.
Registered charity no. 306649, the Friends support RAMM in many ways, both practically and financially.