Jacob Simon

Career summary

I retired as Chief Curator in 2012. I joined  the National Portrait Gallery in 1983 as 18th Century Curator, and before that worked at Leeds City Art Gallery and Temple Newsam House, and at the Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood, Marble Hill House and Ranger’s House. Exhibitions that I have organised include English Baroque Sketches (1974), Thomas Hudson: portrait painter and collector (1977), Handel: a celebration of his life and times (1985), The Art of the Picture Frame: Artists, Patrons and the Framing of Portraits in Britain (1996) and Icons and Idols: Commissioning Contemporary Portraits (2006). In a voluntary capacity, I was a member of various National Trust committees, 1969-2002.

Areas of interest / research

Ongoing projects include regularly updating four online resources: British artists’ suppliers, 1650-1950; British picture framemakers, 1630-1950 ; British picture restorers, 1630-1950 and British bronze sculpture founders and plaster figure makers, 1800-1980 . I am working on a 2nd edition of the resource on British picture restorers to go live in 2013, together with an introductory history. Other interests include the development of 17th-century auricular picture frames as exemplified at Ham House (contribution to forthcoming publication),  Lucian Freud and his materials as an artist (forthcoming website contribution) and the use of standard canvas sizes in British painting (forthcoming website contribution). I am completing a study of the Gallery’s collection of medals and medallions and I am facilitating the process of placing John Kerslake’s catalogue, Early Georgian Portraits, online.

Details of books/publications relating to your work on British portraiture

A new revised and expanded 3rd edition of British artists’ suppliers, 1650-1950 went online in October 2011 and has been selectively updated in March and September 2012 to reflect the latest research. A new revised and expanded 3rd edition of British picture framemakers, 1630-1950 goes online in November 2012, now covering the period, 1610-1950. Two studies on Sir Thomas Lawrence went live in 2011, Thomas Lawrence and picture framing and Thomas Lawrence’s studios and studio practice.