George Romney


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Romney, George

(rŏm`nē), 1734–1802, English portrait painter, b. Lancashire. Having had little early training, Romney went to London in 1762, where he rapidly became a popular and fashionable portrait painter. He studied in Italy (1773–75), and returned to England to rival ReynoldsReynolds, Sir Joshua,
1723–92, English portrait painter, b. Devonshire. Long considered historically the most important of England's painters, by his learned example he raised the artist to a position of respect in England.
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 in popularity. In 1783, Romney met Emma Hart, the future Lady HamiltonHamilton, Emma, Lady,
1765?–1815, mistress of the British naval hero Horatio Nelson. Born Emma Lyon, she became the mistress of Charles Greville, then of Sir William Hamilton, ambassador to Naples, whom she married (1791).
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, whom he painted many times as various historical figures. During his last years he gave up much of his portrait painting for literary subjects, such as Milton and His Daughters and Scene from "The Tempest" (for Boydell's Shakespeare Gall.). Romney's best portraits are ranked among the finest of the English school. His portraits of women are facile and charming, those of men more studied and impressive (e.g., Self-portrait, 1782; National Portrait Gall., London). He is well represented in the Frick Collection and the Metropolitan Museum, New York City, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Bibliography

See biography by his son J. Romney (1830); catalogue raisonné by T. H. Ward and W. Roberts (2 vol., 1904).

Romney, George

 

Born Dec. 15, 1734, in Dalton-in-Fur-ness, Lancashire; died Nov. 15, 1802, in Kendal, Westmorland. English painter and portraitist.

Romney worked in London and Kendal. He visited Paris in 1764, made an extended visit to Italy from 1773 to 1775, and visited Paris again in 1790. Romney was closer to classicism than the other English portraitists of the 18th century. He tended to idealize his subjects, employing smooth compositional rhythms and elegant forms, often modeled after ancient statues; however, his portraits lacked psychological depth (Earl Grey, 1784, Eton College).

REFERENCE

Rump, G. C. George Romney, 1734–1802, vols. 1–2. Hildesheim, 1974.

Romney, George (Wilcken)

(1907–  ) businessman, governor, cabinet officer; born in Chihuahua, Mexico. Son of American Mormon missionaries, he came to the U.S.A. at age 5 and attended the University of Utah and George Washington University. He started as a salesman with the Aluminum Company in 1930, working his way over and up in the automobile industry, eventually becoming president and chairman of American Motors Corporation (1954–62). Chairman of Citizens for Michigan (1959–62), he organized a constitutional convention. As a moderate Republican governor of Michigan (1963–69) he supported civil rights legislation while putting the state on a sound financial basis. In 1964 he had refused to support the conservative Republican candidate, Barry Goldwater, and was regarded as the frontrunner for the Republican nomination in 1968 until he committed a gaffe by stating that the U.S. leaders in Vietnam tried to "brainwash" him. President Nixon nevertheless appointed him secretary of Housing and Urban Development (1969–73). He later headed the National Center for Voluntary Action and held high positions in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
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Stories behind the pictures are revealed in Liverpool-based Alex Kidson's major new three-volume study George Romney, A Complete Catalogue of his Paintings (Yale University Press, PS180).
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Artists featured in the display include William Hogarth, Joshua Reynolds, George Romney, Thomas Rowlandson, William Blake, John Constable and local artist Luke Clennell.
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