Here Reynolds first came into contact with the work of the Old Masters when he made copies of the collection held by Hudson. He also did spend time in Italy studying the work of the Old Masters before returning to England. The Infant Samuel portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds, was painted during 1776 depicts Samuel the last judge of Israel and their first prophet as a young boy on his knees praying. This is one of his great child studies that show his ability to mediate between portrait studies of more mature adults and children while capturing the essential qualities of every subject.
As one of the great admirers of the Old Masters, Reynolds continuously encouraged his students to study the works and techniques of the old masters and to copy them to develop their style. In the portrait of the Infant Samuel, Reynolds made use of his knowledge of the old masters and in particular Rembrandt when he painted the portrait. He painted the painting making use of the colours and light so often used by Rembrandt when he painted his works. The earthy brown shades used and colours and the light used enriches the painting and it helps to show the innocence of the child while portraying the religious theme found in the Old Testament. Many regarded the use of the theme by Reynolds as significant and unusual considering the important role Samuel played as an adult. Reynolds used oil to paint the portrait on canvas with its dimensions of 89 x 70 cm.
There is no clear indication that anyone specific commissioned the painting but according to the book "Famous Paintings" printed during 1913, Reynolds painted his childhood studies for the sheer pleasure of it. It made him just as happy to portray the innocence of children, as painting the more mature qualities of the older person. Joshua Reynolds was inspired by the work of the old masters and was, in turn, an inspiration to many young painters at the Royal Academy whom he influenced as one of the foremost portrait painters of Britain. The artwork is housed in Musée Fabre, Montpellier, France as part of its collection of works of various artists which includes that of Sir Joshua Reynolds.