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Reynolds, Graham

    Full Name: Reynolds, Graham

    Other Names:

    • Arthur Graham Reynolds

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1914

    Place Born: Highgate, Kent, England, UK

    Home Country/ies: United Kingdom

    Subject Area(s): miniature painting, miniatures (paintings), painting (visual works), and portraits


    Scholar of John Constable and portrait miniatures. Reynolds was educated at Highgate School and Queens’ College, Cambridge. He joined the staff of the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1937. During World War II he served in Ministry of Home Security (1939-1945) and there met the painter and engraver Daphne Dent (1918-2002), whom he married in 1943. Reynolds joined the Victoria and Albert Museum after the war, issuing a catalog on Nicholas Hilliard and Isaac Oliver in 1947. His knowledge of British period dress resulted in a volume for the Costume of the Western World series in 1951. The second of his lifelong interests, miniature painting, manifested itself in his 1952 English Portrait Miniatures. He was promoted to Keeper (curator) of the Department of Paintings at the Victoria and Albert Museum (concomitantly with Engraving, Illustration and Design) in 1959, then of Prints and Drawings in 1961. Reynolds spent his career at the V&A studying and writing on the excellent collection of paintings by John Constable. His Catalogue of the Constable Collection, London: Victoria and Albert Museum, appeared in 1960 (with a revised edition in 1973). This was followed by Constable, the Natural Painter in 1965. He was a visiting professor at Yale University in 1968. Reynolds was a founding member of the International Advisory Committee of Keepers of Public Collection of Graphic Arts, instigated by Karel G. Boon in 1970. In 1974 he retired, accepting a position as a member of the advisory council of the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 1977-84. During that time, he selected the Constable works for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition “Constable’s England” in 1983. The following year he published the first of his catalogues raisonnés on Constable, The Latter Paintings and Drawings of John Constable. A revised edition of his English Portrait Miniatures was issued in 1988. He was named an Honorary Keeper of Portrait Miniatures at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge in 1994. Under the auspices of the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art at Yale University, Reynolds issued the second of his Constable catalogue raisonné, The Early Paintings and Drawings of John Constable in 1996. He was knighted for his service to the royal collection in 2000. Reynolds was one of a number of curators who publicly opposed the “new art history” of the 1970s and 1980s that followed a closer (essentially Marxist-derived) political reading of art. His own writing in catalogs and texts avoids analysis in favor of documenting the works themselves.

    Selected Bibliography

    Nicholas Hilliard and Isaac Oliver. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1947; Thomas Bewick: a Resume of his Life and Work. London: Art and Technics, 1949; Elizabethan and Jacobean [Costume]1558-1625. Costume of the Western World (series). London: George G. Harrap & Co., 1951; British Watercolours. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1951; English Portrait Miniatures. London: Adam & Charles Black, 1952; Painters of the Victorian Scene. London: B. T. Batsford, 1953; Catalogue of the Constable Collection. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1960; Constable, the Natural Painter. London: Cory, Adams and Mackay, 1965; Turner. Thames and Hudson, 1969; A Concise History of Watercolours. London: Thames and Hudson, 1971; Catalogue of Portrait Miniatures. London: Trustees of the Wallace Collection, 1980; Constable’s England. New York : Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1983; The Later Paintings and Drawings of John Constable. New Haven: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art/Yale University Press, 1984; Art in Context: a Selection by Graham Reynolds from the Ipswich Borough Council Museums & Galleries Collection. Ipswich: Ipswich Borough Council, 1992; The Early Paintings and Drawings of John Constable. New Haven: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art /Yale University Press, 1996; European Miniatures in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1996; British Portrait Miniatures. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998; The Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century Miniatures in the Collection of her Majesty the Queen. London: Royal Collection, 1999; The Latter Paintings and Drawings of John Constable. 2 vols. Yale University Press, 1984; [book review] “The Political Theory of Painting from Reynolds to Hazlitt.” Apollo 124 (December 1986): 568; [book review:] “The New Art History.” Apollo 124 (October 1986): 376-7.


    Bazin, Germain. Histoire de l’histoire de l’art; de Vasari à nos jours. Paris: Albin Michel, 1986, p. 515; Hodge, Gavin A. “Daphne Reynolds: Painter/Printmaker who Helped Revive the Mezzotint.” Independent (London), December 23, 2002, p. 12, 1203 ; Who’s Who in Art, 31st ed. 2004; and Andrews, Kieth, and Gere, Johan, and Magandrew, Hugh. “Keepership of Prints and Drawings.” The Burlington Magazine 115, No. 844 (July 1973): 469; Laing, Alastair, and Pointon, Marcia. “[Letters:] Labelling Mulready at the V. & A.” The Burlington Magazine 129, No. 1006 (January 1987): 28-29; “Profile: Graham Reynolds.” Apollo 80 (July 1964): 74.


    "Reynolds, Graham." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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