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image P7

Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723 - 1792)

The Snake in the Grass; or Love unloosing the zone of Beauty

1785

Oil on canvas

Height: 124.5cm
Width: 99. 5cm

Inscription: None

Museum number: P7

Curatorial note

This picture depicts Cupid untying the girdle of Venus. It seems likely that the young Emma, later Lady Hamilton and Lord Nelson’s lover, was the model for Venus in this picture. There are two other versions, in the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Russia and at Tate Britain.

Provenance help-art-provenance

Purchased by Soane at the Christie's Sale of the Marchioness of Thomond's collection (she was Reynolds' niece) in May 1821 for £535.10.0 (see Soane Journal 21 May 1821)

Literature

Britton, J., The Union of Architecture, Sculpture and Painting, 1827, pp. 34, 53 and 56
Soane, Description, 1830, p.20 and 45
Soane, Description, 1835, p. 7 and 9
Graves, A. and Cronin, W. V., A History of the Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds, volume III, 1899, p. 1211
Mannings, D., Sir Joshua Reynolds: A Complete Catalogue of His Paintings (Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art), 2000
New Description, Sir John Soane's Museum, 2007, pp.8 and 100


If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk