Lectures | David Solkin, Kate Retford and Martin Myrone on Portraiture | National Gallery of Victoria

Edward Haytley, The Brockman family at Beachborough, c. 1744-46. Oil on canvas, 52.7 x 65 cm. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Everard Studley Miller Bequest, 1963

Edward Haytley, The Brockman family at Beachborough, c. 1744-46. Oil on canvas, 52.7 x 65 cm. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Everard Studley Miller Bequest, 1963

A trio of public lectures on portraiture by three leading art historians: David H. Solkin FBA (Courtauld Institute of Art), Kate Retford (Birkbeck, University of London) and Martin Myrone (Tate Britain).

These scholars are coming to Melbourne as part of the University of Melbourne’s international conference, Human Kind: Transforming Identity in British and Australian Portraits, 1700-1914 and will present three free lectures at the NGV.

Information and bookings for the full Human Kind conference can be found here.

David Solkin: English or European? Portraiture and the Politics of National Identity in Early Georgian Britain. Thursday 8 September, 6:00pm. Clemenger Theatre, National Gallery of Victoria (International).

The influence of European art created a fundamental shift in British portraiture in the mid eighteenth-century. With some artists championing native tradition and others embracing Continental trends, a struggling national identity was played out in British portraiture. Explore the shifting politics of portraiture in early Georgian Britain with one of the world’s leading authorities on the history of British art, David Solkin.

Kate Retford: Conversing in and with the Landscape: Edward Haytley’s portraits of The Brockman Family at Beachborough. Friday 9 September, 6:30pm. Clemenger Theatre, National Gallery of Victoria (International).

In the mid 1740s Edward Haytley spent time at the residence of Squire James Brockman in Kent, England, working on pendant canvases which have been in the NGV Collection since the early 1960s. Explore how these paintings developed the conventions of ‘the conversation piece’: an innovative mode of small group portraiture, in which the polite classes of eighteenth-century England were pictured engaged in genteel diversions, undertaken in elegant settings. As Dr Kate Retford will explain, Haytley’s key contribution was to meld this tradition with the art form of the ‘multiple gardenscape’ and so blur the boundaries of portraiture, landscape and genre.

Martin Myrone: Portrait and Autograph: Art and Identity in the Age of Reform, c.1820-40. Saturday 10 September, 6:00pm. Clemenger Theatre, National Gallery of Victoria (International).

In an 1830s portrait series by English painter Henry Perronet Briggs, the artist incorporated physical text, inscribed and pasted on the canvas. These paintings prompt an examination of British portraiture in the age of political reform and industrialisation. Delivered by Tate Britain’s Martin Myrone, explore questions of authenticity, identity, illusion and the portrait-as-object in this fascinating lecture.

These lectures are free but bookings are essential. Bookings for each lecture can be made via this webpage.

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