Romney and France
Of the English painters of the eighteenth century, George Romney is probably among those for whom France counted most. His four stays here and his interest in French art—of the seventeenth century in particular—warrant closer study of what is a neglected relationship with this country. French art lovers of the time may have been misled by his atypical situation as a non-member of the Royal Academy, and it is by no means clear how well known he was in France in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
By contrast, the twentieth century saw Romney the draftsman emerge as a veritable passion for the French, and some of the numerous notebooks and individual drawings they seized on are still part of public collections in this country. The scope of this essay, however, does not extend to details of these different aspects of Romney's story, the point being rather to suggest the outline of a study to be undertaken in greater depth, and to open up avenues of research.
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