Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723–1792)

Artist:
Archibald Robertson (American, Moneymusk, Scotland 1765–1835 New York)
Date:
1786–91
Medium:
Ivory
Dimensions:
Oval, 3 x 2 3/8 in. (75 x 60 mm)
Classification:
Miniatures
Credit Line:
Bequest of Geraldine Winslow Goddard, 1923
Accession Number:
24.21
Not on view
The Artist: Archibald Robertson was born at Monymusk, near Aberdeen, Scotland. After studying in Edinburgh and from 1786 in London, he worked again in Aberdeen. He went to the United States in 1791 and painted a miniature of George Washington which ensured his success. With his brother Alexander Robertson, also a miniature painter, he founded the Columbian Academy of Painting in New York. Andrew Robertson (see 1986.390) was his younger brother. Sir Joshua Reynolds is said to have given him advice, and the miniature catalogued below is no doubt a product of Robertson's years in England or Scotland.

The Miniature: Archibald Robertson’s miniature must date between 1786 and 1791. It is copied from the 1773 half-length self-portrait by Reynolds in the collection of Earl Spencer at Althorp. The artist's costume is accounted for by the fact that he was given an honorary Doctorate of Civil Law at the University of Oxford that same year. The Met owns a second miniature copy after Reynolds's self-portrait in the style of William Grimaldi (62.122.60). Versions by George Engleheart and James Nixon also exist (Robert Bayne-Powell, Catalogue of Portrait Miniatures in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, Cambridge, 1985, p. 160).

[2016; adapted from Reynolds and Baetjer 1996]
by descent to the artist's granddaughter, Mrs. J. Warren (Geraldine Winslow) Goddard, New York (until d. 1923)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Eighteenth-Century Woman," December 12, 1981–September 5, 1982, unnumbered cat. (p. 60, as Attributed to Archibald Robertson).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "European Miniatures in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," November 5, 1996–January 5, 1997, no. 163.

Geraldine Winslow Goddard New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. Archibald Robertson, the Founder of the First School of Art in America. February 20, 1920, p. 1, calls the artist—her grandfather—a pupil and friend of Reynolds, and refers to this work as Robertson's "greatest miniature, which is believed to be the only miniature of Sir Joshua in existence, and [which] depicts the master in his scarlet cloak as Doctor of Laws".

Leo R. Schidlof. The Miniature in Europe in the 16th, 17th, 18, and 19th Centuries. Graz, Austria, 1964, vol. 2, p. 683.

Daphne Foskett. A Dictionary of British Miniature Painters. New York, 1972, vol. 1, p. 472.

Graham Reynolds with the assistance of Katharine Baetjer. European Miniatures in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1996, pp. 14, 145–46, no. 163, colorpl. 163 and ill. p. 145, date it between 1786 and 1791 and note that it is a copy after Reynolds's self-portrait of 1773 (Earl Spencer collection, Althorp).

Katharine Baetjer. "British Portraits in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 57 (Summer 1999), p. 64, ill. (color).

John Ingamells. National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits, 1760–1790. London, 2004, p. 395, mistakenly as by Andrew Robertson.



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