Forming part of her series, "Portrayal", in which Victoria restages English paintings, "Reynolds after Raphael" is both a autobiographical response to the birth of her own child as much as it is based on her interest in the history of art and the importance the old masters continue to have within English culture. Victoria is curious about the influence the heritage industry has on our visual language and in this work explores how Englishness is concerned almost entirely with the past. Our love affair with period dramas, stately homes and national history is important to how we identify ourselves.
In making the work, Victoria seeks to produce a faithful recreation of the original painting. When visiting Blenheim Palace, Victoria found the same vista used by Reynolds for the backdrop and where the painter had painted it to use in his studio, so Victoria photographed it and similarly positoned it on her stage set. With lighting, period costumes and special attention paid to hair and makeup, Victoria creates a mini film set into which she places herself to perform her duel role of performance artist and photographer's muse.