Sir Joshua Reynolds was born at Plympton Earl in Devonshire, England in 1723. In 1740, his father sent him to London, in order to nurture his early artistic talents. There, he studied with Thomas Hudson, a portraitist. He worked in Plymouth Dock, London and Devonshire before sailing for Italy in 1750. The two years he spent there had a profound influence upon him and his subsequent career. His life long admiration for Michelangelo, Raphael, Guido Reni, Corregio, and Titian stemmed from this sojourn. From the moment Reynolds set up business in London in 1753, until his left eye went blind in 1789, he enjoyed immense success, so much that he had to keep raising his prices to stem the tide of sitters. Never having learned to draw with ease under Hudson, and having been brought up in the accepted studio tradition whereby much of the work was done by assistants, Reynolds employed his own or made use of successful drapery painters such as Peter Toms. It was common practice for him to paint the face and hands and provide a sketch of the pose, which would then be finished by an assistant, pupil, or professional drapery painter. In many cases, he would go over the picture again and apply the final touches. Thomas Gainsborough and Reynolds were rivals and occasionally their portraits have a resemblance. In 1768, Reynolds became the first President of the Royal Academy; he was also elected mayor of his native Plympton. He resigned as President of the Academy in 1790 after a quarrel with the Council. He died in 1792.