I spent the morning in the National Gallery of Ireland, admiring its fine collection of eighteenth-century paintings and being reminded how many prominent artists working in London were Irish, including George Barret RA, one of the founders of the Royal Academy, James Barry RA, one of only two artists to be expelled, Nathaniel Hone RA, another of the founders, and Francis Wheatley RA.
I admired Reynolds’s early parody of the School of Athens, when he was a student in Rome:-
James Barry’s Temptation of Adam (c.1770), based on Milton, which he painted while in Rome:-
Nathaniel Hone’s Self-Portrait (c.1780):-
And Gainsborough’s Cottage Girl (1785), which looks saccharine in reproduction, but less so when you see the quality of the painting:-