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First Form's Visit to the National Portrait Gallery

17 October 2012

Today, First Form went to the National Portrait Gallery as part of their study of portraits in art. The boys were split into two groups; one group were taken to look at the portraits in the Regency galleries whilst the other group studied those in the Modern galleries.

The Regency group looked at three portraits; George IV, Lord Byron and Edward Jenner. The boys had the challenge of using clues from the paintings, such as clothes, stance and background to try and work out who they were of and what the person was like. Some boys were even lucky enough to dress up and recreate the image! They found out that artists did not always paint the subjects exactly as they were. In fact, George IV who was the Prince of Wales was often called the Prince of Whales due to his large size however his portrait, painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence, depicts him as a fit young man. Sir Thomas was criticised for this work and as his painting is a ‘lie upon canvas’! They also enjoyed finding the clues of the medical book and picture of a cow in the portrait of Lord Byron and learning about how he created a cure for small pox. The boys then had the opportunity to choose one of the portraits they had looked at to draw.

Finally, we were lucky enough to visit ‘The Queen Art and Image’ exhibition which marks the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and runs to the 21 October. The exhibition brought together more traditional portraits of Elizabeth II, commissioned photographs and more contemporary pieces.

H Ridley dressed a George IV

G Staveley recreating the portrait of Lord Byron

J Culley with his portrait of George IV