The Ballroom at Knole, Sevenoaks, Kent. © National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

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

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 […]

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Portraits in context at Weston Park by Emma Nock

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 […]

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

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 […]

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Revealing the Charterhouse, by Ellie Darton-Moore

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 […]

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

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 […]

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

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 […]

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

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 […]

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