barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham

JOSHUA REYNOLDS (1723 – 1792)

A Portrait of the Reverend William Beele

Devonport, about 1748

Oil on canvas

76.2 x 63.5 cm


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)

Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641)

Lucas Vorsterman


Charles Le Brun (1619-1690)

Louis XIV


Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677)

Queen Henrietta Maria