The picture stood against the wall of Sir Joshua Reynolds's London studio, striking a strange note in that center of mid-eighteenth-century elegance. The great English painter scowled at it in amazement, for, as he later explained, he had never seen a canvas that gave him quite the same feeling. This portrait of a young boy was a strange mixture of the modern and the old-fashioned, the sophisticated and the crude. The looped red curtain in the background was a stock stage-set borrowed from the imitators of Sir Peter Lely, the school Sir Joshua himself had overthrown, but the pose of the youngster before it was startlingly up to date. He did not stand nobly in one of the stylized positions decreed by aristocratic convention. Interrupted by the artist in his play with a winged squirrel, he glanced up naturally as if to see who had come into the room. Reynolds, bending close to the canvas, observed that the outlines were drawn with the most exquisite accuracy, but that they had been filled in with color in a manner that was unsophisticated, almost crude. The he stepped back from the picture and realized once more that, for all its awkwardness, it struck the sensibilities with the power of a cannonball.