William Dickinson after Sir Joshua Reynolds
Lady Charles Spencer
19 x 23.5 inches
A three quarter length mezzotint portrait of Lady Charles Spencer engraved by William Dickinson after the painting by Joshua Reynolds and published in London in 1776.
This charming study depicts Lady Spencer, wife of the 2nd son of the 3rd Duke of Marlborough, in her riding habit and accompanied by her horse. In May 1775 Mrs. Parker mentions the portrait in a letter to her brother, Lord Grantham: “He (Reynolds) has begun a picture of Lady Charles Spencer in a riding habit with a horse, that promises well, and suits her.” William Dickinson was born in London in 1746 and was awarded a premium at the Society of Arts in 1767, by which time he had begun to engrave in mezzotint. His early work comprised mostly caricatures and portraits after R. Pine and was published by Carrington Bowles. By 1773 he had moved to Litchfield Street in Soho and was publishing his own work. By the late 1770’s he was working from an address in Henrietta Street, Covent Garden and it was from here that he produced mezzotints that rank amongst the finest ever produced, after artists such as Joshua Reynolds and George Romney. In 1778 he embarked upon a partnership with Thomas Watson and moved to New Bond Street where he continued to produce the finest work and also developed his talents to embrace stipple engraving that was becoming fashionable at the time.