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

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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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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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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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‘…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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James Gillray: Caricaturist

James Gillray (1756-1815) was one of the greatest caricaturist of the 18th century. From around 1775 until 1810, he produced nearly 1,000 prints—including brilliantly finished portrait caricatures of the rich, famous, or frivolous, wonderfully comic caricatures of people being awkward, and unquestionably the best satiric caricatures of British political and social life in the age […]

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