One of the leading artists in Britain during the last quarter of the 18th century. Romney was born and died in the Northwest, although he made his name in London. At the height of his career he was more fashionable than Sir Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough as a society portraitist, but all his life he wanted to paint elevated historical and literary subjects. He lacked the confidence to carry out many of his most ambitious projects, but in the last fifteen years of his working life, under the spell of his favourite model and muse Emma Hart, later the celebrated Lady Hamilton, he produced a sequence of Shakespearean and other fancy subjects which count among the most imaginative and poetic canvases of their time.
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