Past Events

Joseph Wright of Derby: Self-portrait as an Experimental Artist

Lecture Series – Martin Postle

  • 1 December 2022
  • 6:00 – 7:30 pm
  • Paul Mellon Centre and Online

Self-Portrait at the Age of About Forty Joseph Wright’s remarkable self-portrait was acquired for the nation by Derby Museum earlier this year, having been hidden away in a private collection for two hundred and fifty years since it was presented by the artist to a close friend. This flamboyant self-portrait is unique in Wright’s oeuvre, being the only one of its kind to depict him as an artist engaged in the creative act. What is more, on the reverse is an intriguing preparatory oil sketch for one of Wright’s greatest paintings, An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump. The lecture will consider both works together in the context of Wright’s achievement as one of the most innovative and experimental artists of the age.

No prior art historical knowledge is necessary.

Georgian Provocations Series II is convened by Martin Postle, Senior Research Fellow at the Paul Mellon Centre.

Registration via Eventbrite is required and opens on 16 September. This series will take place in person at the Paul Mellon Centre and will also be streamed live via Zoom Webinar.

Recommended Reading

Craske, Matthew. Joseph Wright of Derby. Painter of Darkness. London: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2020.

About the speaker

  • Martin Postle is Senior Research Fellow at the Paul Mellon Centre. Martin has published on a wide range of eighteenth-century artists including Joshua Reynolds, George Stubbs, Johan Zoffany and Richard Wilson. He was recently commissioning editor and contributor to the major PMC research project, Art and the Country House, published online by the Centre in November 2020. Martin is currently engaged upon the research and writing of a catalogue raisonné of the paintings of Joseph Wright of Derby.