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

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‘…and amongst moneyed men he was looked up to as an oracle’.* Mr Coutts’s Chinese Wallpapers and the Art of Diplomacy, by Dr Laura Popoviciu

Standing outside Sir Frederick Gibberd’s modern atrium of Coutts & Co., gracefully incorporated into the Georgian building on the Strand and waiting to explore their portrait collection as part of a study day organised by the Understanding British Portraits network, I wondered about the Coutts’s taste as collectors. The semi-reflective glass façade would not give […]

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The power of portraits in context: A study day at Hardwick Hall by Liz Waring

I had been looking forward to the Understanding British Portraits Study Day at Hardwick Hall from the moment it was announced.  Since first encountering ‘Bess of Hardwick’ 12 years ago when I moved to the area I have become something of an enthusiast. Combined with my equally keen interest in 16th and 17th century portraiture, […]

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An insight to Bethlem through the lens of Henry Hering: a workshop, by Anna Sparham

I felt a strong draw to this workshop, ‘Henry Hering’s early asylum photography; the collection in context’. My interest was triggered by my familiarity with the photographs themselves, but it was the word ‘context’ in the title that hooked me. No, the word itself is not particularly arresting, but the prospect of gaining some knowledge […]

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UBP Annual Seminar 2015: ‘Context is key!’ by Hannah Lyons

For a long time I have been following the Understanding British Portraits network and this year, having been offered a place and travel bursary, I attended the Annual Seminar for the first time. And I agree with the many delegates who have already stated on various social media channels (@UBPnetwork) that the seminar was a […]

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Wax, women, and ‘Who dunnit?’s by Leeanne Westwood

I try to attend the Understanding British Portraits Annual Seminar every year. Whilst not all presentations are relevant to my small portrait collection, there is always something to be gleaned from these events, not least the opportunity to meet like-minded people from little-known collections like my own. This year I met a lovely lady from […]

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Revealing hidden treasures in Edinburgh by Corinne Harrison

After a whirlwind 24 hours in Edinburgh looking at incredible portrait collections, my favourite item of the day was … a ram’s head snuff box. Its existence was revealed after a couple of drinks on our first evening at University of Edinburgh and was just one of many fantastic surprises throughout the visit. We were […]

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