Sir Joshua Reynolds RA FRS FRSA (1723-1792) was an important and influential 18th century English painter, specialising in portraits and promoting the "Grand Style" in painting which depended on idealisation of the imperfect. Showing an early interest in art, Reynolds was apprenticed in 1740 to the fashionable portrait painter Thomas Hudson, with whom he remained until 1743. From 1749 to 1752, he spent over two years in Italy, where he studied the Old Masters and acquired a taste for the "Grand Style". Unfortunately, whilst in Rome, Reynolds suffered a severe cold which left him partially deaf and, as a result, he began to carry a small ear trumpet with which he is often pictured. From 1753 until the end of his life he lived in London, his talents gaining recognition soon after his arrival in France. He was one of the founders and first President of the Royal Academy. George III appreciated his merits and knighted him in 1769. He was one of the earliest members of the Royal Society of Arts, helped found the Society of Artists, and, with Gainsborough, established the Royal Academy of Arts as a spin-off organisation.