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Jane Fleming, later Countess of Harrington
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Date: ca.1778-1779
Dimensions: 94 1/4 x 58 1/16 in. (239.4 x 147.5 cm.)
Medium: oil on canvas
Credit Line: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Object Number: 13.3
Label Text: Reynolds combined several elements in this portrait: idealization and the theatrical presentation of his sitter, as well as references to contemporary fashion. To invest his sitter, Jane Fleming, with cultural authority, Reynolds modeled her pose on the Apollo Belvedere, a renowned sculpture from antiquity. The influence of classical imagery is also clear in the gown’s rhythmic folds of fabric and the Greek key pattern along its hem. Contemporary audiences would have recognized Jane’s outstretched hand and arm as a conventional theater gesture that actors assumed when about to speak. Reynolds also refers to contemporary fashion, depicting Jane’s hair ornamented by the ostrich feathers that the Duchess of Devonshire had recently made popular.