Heads of Angels

Using a child as model is not unusual, and even for a cherub. This painting is by Sir Joshua Reynolds. It is in the Tate Museum. It was painted in 1786-7. It shows the head of a five year old Lady Frances Gordon from five angels, making her appear to be five different angels,

It was actually painted as four then five, so there were two sittings. In different years. The mother outlived the daughter by ten years and donated the picture in 1841, to the National Gallery, It was copied over as many  as 314 times for an ivory prayer book cover. There were many reproductions, titled The Cherub Choir, and even carvings into memorials.

Recently, the picture was used on a First Day Cover to promote the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children’s ‘Year of the Child’. The most unusual is the use of the image in on badges awarded to student midwives at St. Mary’s Hospital, Manchester.

Iti s also said that reynolds, who had no children, and was somewhat deaf paid little attention when his miniature models complained of  getting tired.

Frances passed away in 1831 at only 49, I have yet to learn what happened to her. Thought this is public domain I am leaving the Tate’s link as asked regarding a CCO license.



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