Joshua Reynolds, Douglas, 8th Duke Hamilton, and Elizabeth, Duchess of Hamilton 1779
This could very well be my favorite Reynolds painting if it were not for the fact that it really does not exist any more. Tragic is really an understatement in describe this loss, as you can probably judge from this last remaining image of the work. There is a real tenderness between the young couple that which many Enlightenment artists strove to show in their work, but their efforts are dwarfed by this example. The content look of the couple, merged with the simple display of affection the Duchess shows by holding her husband's collar in her gloved hand is touching.
The Duke of Hamilton fell in love with Elizabeth Anne Burrell and married her a year before this painting was finished. Unfortunately, his mother disapproved of the match which ultimately led to their divorce. Hamilton died without an heir in 1799.
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