Joseph Marchi after Sir Joshua Reynolds
13 x 17.5 inches
A mezzotint engraving by Marchi after the portrait by Joshua Reynolds; published in London in 1773.
A half-length portrait of George Colman sitting and facing to the left with right hand in breast of coat and left-hand supporting chin. There is a table upon which there are papers, books and a pen and quill. These props refer to Colman's chosen profession as a dramatist and theatre manager. He was born in Florence in 1733, educated at Westminster and Oxford then called to the bar. He later abandoned the legal profession to pursue his interests in the arts writing popular plays such as The Jealous Wife and A Clandestine Marriage. Colman also managed the Haymarket Theatre so he was at the very heart of the theatrical scene in Georgian London. Joseph Marchi was born in Rome in 1735 but under the tutelage of Sir Joshua Reynolds was brought to London where, from 1752 onwards, he established himself as a portrait painter and mezzotint engraver. He endeavoured to break free from Reynolds but found that his skills as a mezzotint engraver eclipsed his talent as an artist so it was in working for him that he achieved his greatest work.