Frances Garnet Wolseley, Viscountess Wolseley (1872-1936) by Julian Russell Story, 1884. Collection of Royal Pavilion and Museums, Brighton & Hove
Frances Garnet Wolseley, Viscountess Wolseley (1872-1936) by Julian Russell Story, 1884. Collection of Royal Pavilion and Museums, Brighton & Hove

Who Are You? A Childhood Portrait of Viscountess Frances Wolseley by Su Hepburn

My application for my Understanding British Portraits Fellowship began with a simple question, ‘who are you?’, which is what I thought the moment I saw the portrait of a young girl staring out so boldly from the canvas. Little did I know what an amazing person I had come across. The portrait of The Honourable Frances Wolseley was painted in 1884, by Julian Russell Story. Frances was born in 1872 so in this portrait she is 12 years old. The[...]

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  1. Portrait print © Bath & North East Somerset Council 2017
    Portrait print © Bath & North East Somerset Council 2017

    What is a portrait? Working with portraits at the Victoria Art Gallery by Liz Benington

    06 June 2017

    I attended this seminar at the National Portrait Gallery, keen to develop our work with portraits at the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath. Portraits are one of our most popular subjects with schools and nurseries. I was also looking forward to seeing more of the work of Howard Hodgkin the National Portrait Gallery exhibition: Howard Hodgkin: Absent Friends. An early point in the seminar was that portraits are not always of people. One of the most popular portraits in the[...]

  2. Portrait of William, Lord Russell by Theodore Russell. Weston Park Collection 101.0313
    Portrait of William, Lord Russell by Theodore Russell. Weston Park Collection 101.0313

    Weston Park & Woburn Abbey : A Family Connection, by Victoria Poulton

    25 May 2017

    During the recent Understanding British Portraits Study Day at Weston Park, we were expertly guided through the collection by Gareth Williams, Curator & Head of Learning, and Sally Goodsir, who has undertaken a thorough analysis of the provenance and hang of the pictures. Working on a similar project at Woburn Abbey, it was exciting to hear more about this research, particularly as there are close family connections between the two houses. Lady Diana Russell (1622-95), daughter of the 4th Earl[...]

  3. Our tour of the house began in the Breakfast Room, with its impressive collection of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century portraits.
    Our tour of the house began in the Breakfast Room, with its impressive collection of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century portraits. Image by Emma Nock.

    Portraits in context at Weston Park by Emma Nock

    03 April 2017

    As somebody whose own specialism is not actually in art history (but rather in historic houses and other buildings), I was very keen to attend the portrait study day at Weston Park, not only to enjoy privileged access to the house and collections, but also to benefit from the in-depth knowledge of their curator—Gareth Williams—and my fellow delegates. As a curator with the National Trust in the South West region, my own current role is a twelve-month research project to[...]

  4. Portrait of Bell and Dorothy Freeman, watercolour on paper, by Edward Robert Hughes, signed and dated 1889. © The Geffrye Museum of the Home, London. Purchased with the assistance of the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund and the Arts Council England/Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund.
    Portrait of Bell and Dorothy Freeman, watercolour on paper, by Edward Robert Hughes, signed and dated 1889. © The Geffrye Museum of the Home, London. Purchased with the assistance of the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund and the Arts Council England/Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund.

    E. R. Hughes’ Portrait of Bell and Dorothy Freeman Acquired by the Geffrye Museum, by Emma Hardy

    13 February 2017

    The Geffrye Museum of the Home has recently purchased a beautiful, large-scale watercolour portrait of two young sisters in a domestic interior by the late Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Robert Hughes. Today Hughes is best-known for his ‘blue’ paintings – a series of spectacular, highly finished watercolours on literary and mystical themes, featuring winged allegorical figures against luminous blue skies, completed towards the end of this life. However, during his lifetime, his critical reputation was largely based upon his portraiture, especially[...]

  5. Thomas Burnet, appointed Master of the Charterhouse in 1685. Courtesy of The Charterhouse
    Thomas Burnet, appointed Master of the Charterhouse in 1685. Courtesy of The Charterhouse

    Revealing the Charterhouse, by Ellie Darton-Moore

    16 January 2017

    In December I returned to the National Portrait Gallery, where I had worked for 3 years until last autumn, to attend the annual Understanding British Portraits conference. On the agenda was a talk by Ibby Lanfear, Paintings Conservator, which focused on a collection of 17th-century portraits here at the Charterhouse. It was a wonderful experience to sit with colleagues old and new in the quiet hush of the Ondaatje Wing Theatre to listen to her talk. The Charterhouse is a[...]

  6. Richard Crewe-Milnes, Earl of Madeley (1911-22), by Philip Alexius de László (1869-1937), 1914, oil on artist’s board. Purchased with help from the ACE/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, Grosvenor Museum Society, Bequest of Mrs Frances Wise 2015.196. Conserved with help from the Megan Gwynne-Jones Charitable Trust.
    Richard Crewe-Milnes, Earl of Madeley (1911-22), by Philip Alexius de László (1869-1937), 1914, oil on artist’s board. Purchased with help from the ACE/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, Grosvenor Museum Society, Bequest of Mrs Frances Wise 2015.196. Conserved with help from the Megan Gwynne-Jones Charitable Trust.

    De László’s enchanting portrait of Lord Madeley (1914) purchased by the Grosvenor Museum, Chester, by Peter Boughton

    09 January 2017

    The Grosvenor Museum’s greatest acquisition in 2015 was a portrait of Richard Crewe-Milnes, Earl of Madeley, the three-year-old son of the 1st Marquess of Crewe, painted in 1914 by Philip de László, one of the most celebrated portrait painters of his age. This masterly oil sketch exemplifies the artist’s painterly panache and retains its original circular gilded frame in the Louis XV style. Following conservation to both painting and frame, it makes a superb addition to the permanent display in[...]

  7. Arthur Atherley, oil sketch from life by Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), 1791. Oil on canvas, 62.2 x 50.8 cm. © The Holburne Museum
    Arthur Atherley, oil sketch from life by Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), 1791. Oil on canvas, 62.2 x 50.8 cm. © The Holburne Museum

    A New Portrait for Bath: Thomas Lawrence’s sketch for Arthur Atherley by Amina Wright, Holburne Museum

    19 December 2016

    Early in 2016, following a successful fundraising campaign, the Holburne Museum in Bath purchased Thomas Lawrence’s preparatory oil sketch for one of his most celebrated paintings, Arthur Atherley (left). This is the first oil painting by the great Royal Academician to enter the Holburne’s important collection of British eighteenth-century portraits. Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830) lived and worked in Bath during his teens, from 1780 to 1787. Born in Bristol, he was the most successful artist from the West Country in[...]

  8. Portrait of Joseph Leftwich by Clare Winsten, c.1919, Ben Uri Gallery & Museum
    Portrait of Joseph Leftwich by Clare Winsten, c.1919, Ben Uri Gallery & Museum

    A newly-discovered portrait of Joseph Leftwich by ‘Whitechapel Girl’ Clare Winsten, c.1919, by Sarah MacDougall, Ben Uri Gallery & Museum

    14 December 2016

    My co-curator, Rachel Dickson, and I were delighted when, in the summer of 2015, just as we were preparing to celebrate Ben Uri’s centenary with a major collection exhibition, Out of Chaos, at Somerset House, this early oil by Clare Winsten (1892–1984) came to light. A portrait of one European Jewish émigré to London by another, it depicts the Yiddish writer, critic and translator, Joseph Leftwich (1892–1983), the key chronicler of the so-called ‘Whitechapel Boys’, fittingly executed by the only[...]

  9. Portrait of an Old Jew by John Opie, c.1779 © Penlee House Gallery & Museum, Penzance
    Portrait of an Old Jew by John Opie, c.1779 © Penlee House Gallery & Museum, Penzance

    A Portrait of an Old Jew: Returning Opie’s masterpiece to Penzance by Louise Connell, Director, Penlee House Gallery & Museum

    22 November 2016

    This year Penlee House Gallery & Museum in Penzance purchased a portrait of an elder from the Penzance Jewish Community by John Opie (1761–1807), A Portrait of an Old Jew from c.1779 from a private collection. Painted in the style of Rembrandt, an artist whom Opie admired, the portrait stares directly at us out of the shadows. Just discernible on his forehead is the Tefillin, a box containing four scrolls inscribed with words from the Torah, the Jewish holy book.[...]