Pastel

A stick of colour used in drawing or painting made from powdered pigments mixed with chalk and gum. The immediacy of pastels made it a popular medium. Pastels are applied dry to paper and can be blended and mixed on the paper. Soft (or true) pastels are available in more than 600 tints. Whilst fresh and soft, they are however fragile, and can smudge and fall off the paper unless a fixative is used. Oil pastels come in a more limited range of colours and are greasier but adhere better.

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Rhoda (née Delaval), Lady Astley, attributed to Arthur Pond, circa 1750 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Rhoda (née Delaval), Lady Astley
attributed to Arthur Pond
circa 1750
NPG 5253

Elizabeth Carter, by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1788-1789 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Elizabeth Carter
by Sir Thomas Lawrence
1788-1789
NPG 28

Elizabeth Bannister (née Harpur), by John Russell, 1799 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Elizabeth Bannister (née Harpur)
by John Russell
1799
NPG 1770

John Horne Tooke, by John Raphael Smith, exhibited 1811 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

John Horne Tooke
by John Raphael Smith
exhibited 1811
NPG 6727

Sir John Everett Millais, 1st Bt, by William Holman Hunt, 1853 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Sir John Everett Millais, 1st Bt
by William Holman Hunt
1853
NPG 2914

Tamara Karsavina, by Leon Kamir-Kaufman, 1913 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Tamara Karsavina
by Leon Kamir-Kaufman
1913
NPG 5347

Alicia Markova, by Jacob Kramer, 1936 - NPG  - © William Roberts Society

Alicia Markova
by Jacob Kramer
1936
NPG 6549

Richard Hillary, by Eric Henri Kennington, 1942 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Richard Hillary
by Eric Henri Kennington
1942
NPG 5167

Dame Dorothy Tutin, by Trevor Stubley, 1980 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Dame Dorothy Tutin
by Trevor Stubley
1980
NPG 5539

Sir Ernst Hans Josef Gombrich, by R.B. Kitaj, 1986 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Sir Ernst Hans Josef Gombrich
by R.B. Kitaj
1986
NPG 5892

Ken Loach, by Nick Cudworth, 1998 - NPG  - © Nick Cudworth

Ken Loach
by Nick Cudworth
1998
NPG 6452

Sir David Hare, by Paula Rego, 2005 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London; commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery with the support of J.P. Morgan through the Fund for New Commissions

Sir David Hare
by Paula Rego
2005
NPG 6746

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