• 29 to 30 November 2018
  • Ondaatje Wing Theatre, National Portrait Gallery, London

Thursday 29 November : 
14.00 - 19.30
Friday 30 November : 
10.30 - 17.15

Biography has always haunted the study of portraiture. Although in recent decades art-historians may have developed a healthy scepticism for the intuitive practice of interpreting portraits with straightforward reference to what is known about the lives of their subjects, the temptation to do so remains strong. These tendencies often appear in their most untrammelled form in analyses of artists’ likenesses of themselves, or of their most intimate acquaintances. Taking the current major exhibition Gainsborough’s Family Album as a starting point, leading academics explore the how the biographical archive might play in this field of study going forward. The first day ends with an out-of-hours view of the exhibition and drinks reception. Unlimited entry to the exhibition on the second day of the conference is also included in the ticket price. Tea and coffee are provided on both days.

Sponsored jointly by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and the National Portrait Gallery, London.


Priority booking for Gallery Members is open now. Public booking will open on Wednesday 8 August 2018.

Tickets: £30 (£25 concessions and Gallery Supporters)

Book online, or visit the National Portrait Gallery in person.

Image credit: Thomas Gainsborough, by Thomas Gainsborough, circa 1759. NPG 4446 © National Portrait Gallery, London