'Sarah Rodbard' 1784

George Romney (1734 – 1802)

Oil on canvas, 236 x 152cm
Accession Number LL3539

George Romney 'Sarah Rodbard'

In 1784, when he painted this outstanding full-length portrait, Romney was London’s most fashionable portrait painter. He avoided the formality and intellectual pretension of his rival, Sir Joshua Reynolds, in favour of a mood of relaxed elegance. He achieved this through his assured, flowing draughtsmanship and restrained colour.

Sarah Rodbard was nineteen at the time of this portrait; two years later she became the wife of Major (later General Sir Eyre) Coote. Leverhulme’s purchase of this work for the then high price of £12,000 assured him celebrity status as a collector of Georgian portraiture.