tue 31/03/2020

Thomas Lawrence: Regency Power and Brilliance, National Portrait Gallery | reviews, news & interviews

Thomas Lawrence: Regency Power and Brilliance, National Portrait Gallery

Thomas Lawrence: Regency Power and Brilliance, National Portrait Gallery

Sumptuous portraits of the movers and shakers of Regency England

Thomas Lawrence, in a self-portrait, 'stares down at us with the calm assurance of a man at the height of his powers'

Thomas Lawrence was a child prodigy; from the age of 11 he supported his family by making pastel drawings of the fashionable elite who spent the season in Bath. The next step for an aspiring young artist was to learn how to paint in oils and Lawrence taught himself by doing self-portraits. He learned fast. The first painting in this exhibition of sumptuous portraits shows a diffident 19-year-old sitting sideways and glancing nervously towards us, as though fearful that his efforts will be laughed at.

Thomas Lawrence was a child prodigy; from the age of 11 he supported his family by making pastel drawings of the fashionable elite who spent the season in Bath. The next step for an aspiring young artist was to learn how to paint in oils and Lawrence taught himself by doing self-portraits. He learned fast. The first painting in this exhibition of sumptuous portraits shows a diffident 19-year-old sitting sideways and glancing nervously towards us, as though fearful that his efforts will be laughed at.

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