|Giuseppe Marchi (ca.1721–1808) was a mezzotint engraver and occasional portrait painter. Reynolds first met Marchi in Rome and asked him to follow him to London, which he did in 1752. Despite Reynolds’s complaint in a letter the following year that ‘Giuseppe is grown so intolerably proud that I fear we shall not keep long together’, Marchi went on to serve as his chief studio assistant for forty years.|
In this portrait, painted during the first year of Marchi’s employment, the hauteur that Reynolds complained of is theatrically expressed in the sitter’s exotic costume of white turban and red fur-lined coat. Reynolds’s style was becoming increasingly indebted to Rembrandt during this period, the warm colours and thick impasto of this portrait being particularly reminiscent of the Dutch master’s late manner.
Frames associated with this work