The National Portrait Gallery in London is staging an exhibition called, “Thomas Lawrence: Regency Power and Brilliance” from 21 October 2010 – 23 January 2011. Thomas Lawrence was the greatest British portrait painter of his generation., and this exhibition, the first to focus on Lawrence’s work in the UK for over thirty years, explores his development into the most celebrated and influential artist in Europe at the start of the nineteenth century. Featuring over fifty works, it showcases the artist’s greatest paintings and drawings alongside lesser known works, drawn from public and private collections around the world. When it closes in London, the exhhibition will move to the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut from 24 February to 5 June 2011. This will be the first exhibition in the United Kingdom since 1979 to examine Lawrence’s work and the first substantial presentation of this artist in the United States. It will present Lawrence as the most important British portrait painter of his generation and will explore his development as one of the most celebrated and influential European artists of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. By his untimely death in 1830 Lawrence had achieved the greatest international reach and reputation of any British artist.
A new book called Thomas Lawrence: Regency Brilliance and Power has been published in conjunction with the exhibition, edited by Cassandra Albinson, Peter Funnell, and Lucy Peltz, with essays by Cassandra Albinson, Peter Funnell, and Marcia Pointon. This important book explores Lawrence’s political friendships and allegiances along with his exceptional role as witness to significant historical events, and contrasts these with his remarkable ability to depict the charm and innocence of childhood. Elected President of the Royal Academy in 1820, Lawrence was instrumental in establishing the status of the artist in 19th-century Britain.
Cassandra Albinson is Associate Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Yale Center for British Art. Peter Funnell is the nineteenth-century curator at the National Portrait Gallery, where Lucy Peltz is the eighteenth-century curator. To coincide with the publication of the book (October 2010),
In fact, many of Lawrence’s works have become iconic and need no explanation as to the identity of the sitter, like these below:
I can only hope that at least one of the Wellington portraits will be on view when I visit the Exhibition in London in December.