Ending Reynolds posts with my favourite female portrait that is perhaps my favourite painting by him in general : Mrs. Siddons as the Tragic Muse, 1784.
I think I have posted it before, when I was writing about poor Thomas Gainsborough who painted her too; she was a Welsh actress, one of the greatest of her time, famous mainly for Shakespearean roles such as Lady Macbeth.
Wonderful stories are told of her powers over the spectators. Macready relates that when she played Aphasia in Tamburlaine, after seeing her lover strangled before her eyes, so terrible was her agony as she fell lifeless upon the stage, that the audience believed she was really dead, and only the assurance of the manager could pacify them … — Shaughnessy, Robert. “Siddons , Sarah (1755–1831)
My favourite by Thomas Gainsborough : Mrs. Sarah Siddons (1785) also (and just as famously) portrayed by Sir Joshua Reynolds :)
Sarah Siddons (5 July 1755 – 8 June 1831) was a Welsh actress, the best-known tragedienne of the 18th century. She was most famous for her portrayal of the Shakespearean character, Lady Macbeth, a character she made her own. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Siddons