Britain’s first Thomas Lawrence exhibition in over 30 years opens at the National Portrait Gallery this week.
The Bath-born Regency painter, a bitter rival of Thomas Gainsborough and a prodigy of Sir Joshua Reynolds’, has fallen into relative obscurity compared to his contemporaries in the last few decades.
Lawrence is not a household name like Gainsborough, but while his work is rarely seen in public it is included in the most illustrious of private collections.
Paintings including ‘Princess Sophia’ (1825), Pope Pius VII (1819-20) and Charles, Archduke of Austria have been loaned to the National Portrait Gallery by the Queen’s own private collection.
“Thomas Lawrence was the artistic star of the Regency period,” Sandy Nairne, director of the National Portrait Gallery, said.
“This exhibition now offers the best chance to understand why his work is so important.”
‘Thomas Lawrence: Regency Power and Brilliance’ opens 21 October until 23 January 2011.