Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Artist in residence!

Hi all, Samuel here. I had a quick wander round the house this morning and on my travels I happened to spot something rather out of the ordinary happening in the Marble Hall. A fantastic artist  working on a painting of a painting! It all looked very curious so I headed straight up to the office to see Andy our House and Collections Manager and find out more…

Morning Andy, so what’s going on in the Marble Hall today?
Andy: Well today and for the rest of the 2012 season you’ll be able to see the artist Wendy Norris copying a portrait by the studio of Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) from the Petworth collection.

What prompted the copy?
Andy: The subject is the Rt. Hon. George Grenville (1712-1770), represented in the robes of Chancellor of the Exchequer – he later became Prime Minister. The modern copy has been commissioned by Stowe School in Buckinghamshire, who are building a collection of portraits of figures associated with Viscount Cobham of Stowe. While Stowe House has been home to the School since 1923, its landscape is now maintained by the National Trust.

So why is the portrait of Grenville at Petworth in the first place?
Andy: In 1749, he married Elizabeth Wyndham, sister of the 2nd Earl of Egremont; the painting was commissioned by their brother, the Earl of Thomond, and was inherited by the 3rd Earl of Egremont. It can usually be found hanging in the North Gallery.

It’s certainly great to be able to see the original close up - when your legs are a short as mine most paintings are far too high. But why is Wendy not working in a studio?
Andy: We wanted to give visitors the opportunity to see how paintings were made in the 18th century – meticulously built up in layers. You can see at the moment the colours are much lighter than the original and this will change as more and more layers are added. The original has also suffered over time as Reynolds was notoriously carefree in his choice of materials, and here the red carmine pigment he often used to represent skin complexion has typically faded to leave Grenville with a ghostly pale face.

We’re looking forward to seeing how the painting changes over time and will blog regular updates on its progress, but don’t forget you can also pop in and see for yourself Monday - Wednesday.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We would love to hear from you