A Portrait of the Reverend William Beele
Devonport, about 1748
Oil on canvas
William Beele (1704-1757) was appointed a naval chaplain in 1727 and he was stationed at Devonport where this portrait was painted.
He is shown half-length, framed by an oval-shaped stone niche. The artist has slightly enlarged the sitter’s features, increasing the work’s expressive power.
Reynolds painted this portrait before his trip to Italy (1749-52), in the earliest stages of a highly successful career which included the presidency of the Royal Academy.
Purchased 1969 (No.69.10)