George Romney Biography | Oil Paintings
12-26-1734 Dalton-in-Furness, ENG - 11-15-1802 Kendal, ENGBack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
George Romney, an English painter specializing in portraits was born in Lancashire, the son of a cabinet maker, and trained under an itinerant portraitist named Christopher Steele. For a time, he picked up commissions by traveling from town to town, before making his base in Kendal.
Moving to London in 1762, George Romney established a reputation as a fashionable portrait painter, although his style did not mature until after his tour of Italy in 1773-75. There, his study of Classical and Renaissance art paid huge dividends and most of his best paintings were produced in the decade after his return to England.
George Romney, like Gainsborough, was deeply dissatisfied with portraiture. His ambition of becoming a history painter was never fulfilled, partly because of his nervous, introspective character and partly because of his reluctance to exhibit.
George Romney later career was marred by his obsession with Emma Hart, later to become Lady Hamilton and Lord Nelson's mistress. Romney met her in 1781, and in the years that followed produced dozens of pictures of her, usually masquerading as a character from mythology. As his reputation began to wane, the artist returned to Kendal, where he suffered a serious mental decline.
George Romney is a kinsman of American politicians George W. Romney (1907–1995) and Mitt Romney, the presidential candidate.