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Mrs. Billington as Saint Cecilia, after Joshua Reynolds

1803
19th century
68 cm x 40.8 cm (26 3/4 in. x 16 1/16 in.)

James Ward (London, 1769 - 1859, Chestnut (Hertfordshire)) Primary

Object Type: print
Artist Nationality: Europe, English
Medium and Support: Color mezzotint
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Leo Steinberg Collection, 2002
Accession Number: 2002.1833

Elizabeth Billington was a British opera singer famed for her vocal range as well as scandalous private life. Reynolds’s celebrated portrait (today in the Tate Gallery, London) renders her as Cecilia, the patron saint of music. The composer Haydn is said to have told Reynolds, “What have you done? You have made her listening to the angels. You should have represented the angels listening to her.”

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