Portrait painter Joshua Reynolds, the son of a clergyman, was born near Plymouth in 1723. He was sent to London to study art in 1740. He was apprenticed to Thomas Hudson but William and Ramsay had the most influence of his style. After a period in Rome (1749-52), Reynolds returned to England where he established himself as one of country's leading portrait painters. Those painted by Reynolds included Josiah Wedgewood Warren Hastings, Sir Joseph Banks and David Garrick.
When the Royal Academy was established in 1768, Reynolds was elected its first president. The following year he was knighted. In 1784 Reynolds was appointed as painter to George 111.
However, five years later his sight began to deteriorate and he was forced to give up painting. Joshua Reynolds died in 1792.