Thursday, 13 December 2018

A Visit to The National Portrait Gallery London

While running around our Capital gathering up some festive images for our final end
of year post which should be up next week, I managed to pop in to The National Portrait
Gallery. My aim was to catch the new show at the Gallery which featured some family
portraits by the great English painter Thomas Gainsborough, an artist also known
for his scenes of the English countryside. But this collection on show was something
more personal to Gainsborough as it featured many of his family members,
including his young nephew and studio assistant Gainsborough Dupont,
certainly one of the big attractions of this collection. Dupont went on to become
an artist himself even adopting a similar style to his Uncle Thomas Gainsborough.

Above: Portraits of the young Gainsborough Dupont.
Image via London Visitors website (plus a full exhibition review).
The 1773 portrait on the left of the older Dupont was restored by
conservators at The National Portrait Gallery in which more
than a century's worth of yellowing varnish was removed
revealing the original portrait of the handsome youth, a portrait
that apparently took Gainsborough only an hour to paint.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to take any photographs in this
Gainsborough Exhibition Room so afterwards I moved on
upstairs to the galleries featuring works and portraits from
the 18th Century, portraits of The Tudors, The Stuarts and some
works from the early 19th Century.
Above & below center portrait: William Pitt the elder
1st Earl of Chatham 1708 - 78.
British Statesman and Father of William Pitt the younger.

Above left: An oil on canvas portrait of George Washington, the First
President of the United States from April 1789 - March 1796.
Artist - Gilbert Stuart
From a copy of a sitting in 1796

Above right: English Diarist and Naval Administrator
Samuel Pepys (1633-1703).
Oil on Canvas by John Hayls.

Above: King Charles I    ( 1600 - 1649 )
Oil on canvas by Daniel Mytens  -  1631.
Above: William Henry West Betty.  1791 - 1874.

Oil on canvas image of child actor William Betty in the role of
Young Norval in John Home's play 'Douglas.'
William retired from acting in his early twenties.

Portrait by John Opie  1761 - 1807.

Above:  William Shakespeare   1564 - 1616.

This is the only portrait of him that has good claim to have
been painted from life. It was the first portrait to be acquired
by The National Portrait Gallery when it was founded in 1856.

Above left: King Charles II  (1630 - 1685 )
By John Michael Wright  -  oil on canvas  1660-1665

Above right: King George II  (1683 - 1760 )
by Thomas Hudson  -  1774
oil on canvas.

Above:  Exhibits from The Tudor Gallery
Above left: Queen Victoria  (1819 - 1901)
Portrait by Lady Julia Abercromby.
Queen Victoria reigned from 1837 - 1901.

Above right:  King Edward VII   ( 1841- 1910 )
Eldest son of Queen Victoria reigned from 1901 - 1910.
Oil on canvas  by Sir Luke Fildes  between 1902 - 1912.

Below: Sculptures and portraits from The Victorian period.


  1. I wonder if William Betty played female roles while on the stage. Could have been Romeo and Juliet in different productions. - Ian

  2. Haha! Who knows. Strange that by his reaching adulthood his acting services were no longer required.
    Seems to be something that still goes on today. Maybe just like McCauly Kulkin and co!

  3. This is great, Dee! It brought back nice memories of wandering around the Portrait Gallery and, of course, the National Gallery next door. That Van Dyck self portrait is wonderful! He was a true virtuoso painter! Loved seeing this. Happy holidays! Tim

  4. Hi Tim, Glad you enjoyed them. I was thinking of you while posting them up.
    Yes the Van Dyck is wonderful. It even seemed to have it's own little special display area. They say that when he moved to England that the Van Dyck style of painting caught on in a big way.
    But yes, some wonderful galleries there with yet more to see. I can see why you enjoyed them.
    Will send you those sketches soon.