Past Events

Thomas Lawrence: Regency Power and Brilliance


  • 18 to 19 November 2010
  • 2:00 – 7:30 pm
  • Public Study Room, Paul Mellon Centre

This conference accompanies the exhibition Thomas Lawrence: Regency Power and Brilliance at the National Portrait Gallery, London (20 October 2010-23 January 2011) which will be shown at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 24 February- 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. Based on new research and fresh perspectives, this exhibition will introduce Lawrence to a new generation of museum visitors and students. It will also contextualise his work in the light of recent scholarship on the art, politics and culture of the period. The exhibition will include the artist's greatest paintings and drawings alongside lesser known works in order to provide a fresh understanding of Lawrence and his career. It will contrast his approach to sitters according to age and gender, juxtapose the power and impact of his public works with the intimacy and intensity of those portraits of his friends and family, trace his innovations as a draughtsman and painter, and place him within the broader contexts of the aesthetic debates, networks of patronage and international politics of his day.

Full length portrait of a man

Sir Thomas Lawrence, Lord Granville Leveson-Gower, later first Earl Granville, circa 1804-09, oil on canvas on canvas, B1981.25.736

Digital image courtesy of Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection