Many contemporaries recalled Reynolds as a very shy and modest person. However, modesty did not prevent him from creating a whole gallery of his own portraits. The earliest of self-portraits was written by him in his youth, the latest – seven years before his death.
Surprisingly, with the “tools of labor” he depicted himself only once – on a self-portrait of 1749. Subsequently, the artist tried to emphasize not the “handicraft”, but the intellectual component of his work, and rather wrote himself not as a skilled painter and thinker, but as a thinker. So, in the mid-1770s self-portrait, Reynolds looks more like a desk scientist than an artist, and if we didn’t know that Reynolds was in front of us, we could easily have taken him, say, as Doctor of Law.
In an effort to give dignity and a certain grandeur to self-portraits, our hero, however, never hid his physical disabilities from the audience and did not try to embellish himself. For example, in 1789 he did not hesitate to portray himself with glasses.