|Miss Price, 1769-70, Sir Joshua Reynolds|
|Admiral Augustu Keppel,|
1752-53, Sir Joshua Reynolds
But Reynolds longed for better things. In 1760, with the ascension of George III to the throne, some 69 London painters held a sort of English version of the Paris Salon in which Reynolds' portrait of a dashing young Admiral, Augustus, Viscount Keppel, striding along a stormy seashore stood out among the 130 other works exhibited. It served to topple Allan Ramsay as the leading painter of London society. The pose in the painting is based quite literally on the Roman statue known as the Apollo Belvedere which Reynolds had studied in Rome. With this success, he acquired a mansion in the fashionable London suburb of Leicester Fields and was soon turning out over 150 portraits a year, employing a staff of assistants to paint backgrounds and clothes in the portraits. It wasn't quite the Thomas Hudson portrait factory but it was close. Reynolds cultivated a number of literary friends who helped him acquire the classical education he'd missed as a child. They also powered a PR machine to augment Reynolds' already shameless knack for self-promotion. The stature he acquired later came in handy as he helped found the British Royal Academy of art which he personally ran for some twenty years until his death in 1788. Reynolds is credited with being most responsible for lifting the status of English art that his countrymen enjoy to this day.