The portrait represents Anna Ward, the eight-year-old illegitimate daughter of John, second Viscount Dudley and Ward, and Mrs. Mary Baker, whom Lord Dudley later married. This was one of thirteen paintings that Reynolds exhibited in 1787 at the annual exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts in London; six of these paintings represented children. Portraits of children were increasingly common during the eighteenth century, and Reynolds was particularly gifted at capturing his young subjects’ innocence and grace, as he does here. Reynolds painted this portrait nearly two decades after becoming president of the Royal Academy of Arts and only two years before losing his sight and being forced to retire from painting.
Painted in 1787 for the sitter’s father, John, 7th baron Ward of Birmingham, 2nd viscount Dudley and Ward of Dudley [1724/1725-88], Dudley and Birmingham, West Midlands, England;
his daughter, Anna Maria Ward St. Paul [c. 1779-1837], and her husband, Horace David Cholwell St. Paul [1775-1840], London;
by descent to their son, Horace St. Paul [d. 1891], Ewart Park, Northumberland, England;
sold by his estate to (Christie, Manson & Woods, London, through T. H. Woods);
purchased by (Asher Wertheimer, London);
purchased by Baron Nathaniel Mayer de Rothschild [1836-1905], Vienna, by 1902;
(Newhouse Galleries, Inc., New York);
purchased by Kimbell Art Foundation, Fort Worth, 1948.