Self image: making a self-portrait (2)

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Are you going to be the only figure in your self-portrait? We usually think of a self-portrait as being an image of the artist alone, but if someone else is included, a partner or family member for example, the self-portrait can also be about the relationship between the artist and that person.


Francis Hayman; Grosvenor Bedford, by Francis Hayman, circa 1748-1750 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Francis Hayman; Grosvenor Bedford
by Francis Hayman
circa 1748-1750
NPG 217


Sir Roy Yorke Calne; John Bellany, by John Bellany, 1992 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Sir Roy Yorke Calne; John Bellany
by John Bellany
1992
NPG 6193

John Bellany's painting is a 'diptych' which means that it is in two parts, often equal in size, the figures exist side by side on separate pieces of paper. Although it is a commissioned portrait of Sir Roy Calne, it is also a self-portrait. This work shows the surgeon responsible for saving Bellany's life, so in this sense, the diptych is an "extra real" self-portrait, literally a memento mori. The painting is highly stylized, with objects and colours placed randomly in the background.
  Do you appear with your partner?

Joseph Edward Southall; Anna Elizabeth Southall, by Joseph Edward Southall, 1911 - NPG  - © estate of Joseph Edward Southall; on loan to the National Portrait Gallery, London

Joseph Edward Southall; Anna Elizabeth Southall
by Joseph Edward Southall
1911
NPG L215


William Roberts; Sarah Roberts (née Kramer), by William Roberts, 1975 - NPG  - © William Roberts Society

William Roberts; Sarah Roberts (née Kramer)
by William Roberts
1975
NPG 5808


Patricia Morley; Lewis Morley, by Lewis Morley, 1959 - NPG  - © Lewis Morley Archive / National Portrait Gallery, London

Patricia Morley; Lewis Morley
by Lewis Morley
1959
NPG x87165


Humphrey Chamberlain; Agnes Turner (née Chamberlain), by Benjamin Brecknell Turner, 1855 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Humphrey Chamberlain; Agnes Turner (née Chamberlain)
by Benjamin Brecknell Turner
1855
NPG P1003

Identity, by Liz Rideal, 1985 - NPG  - © Liz Rideal / National Portrait Gallery, London

Identity
by Liz Rideal
1985
NPG D11008

The Academicians of the Royal Academy (enlarged detail) by John Sanders after Johan Zoffany, 1773

The Academicians of the Royal Academy (enlarged detail)
by John Sanders after Johan Zoffany, 1773

For 'Identity', the artist installed a photo-booth in the basement of the National Portrait Gallery and invited the public to 'disguise or reveal themselves' for the camera with the aid of props and costumes. One can make out the outline of a face on the right hand side of the collage. To create this larger self-portrait (made up literally of the 'hand of the artist') Rideal took photographs of her body and hands which appear black against the grey of the booth curtain backdrop.
The idea was to invite the general public, artists and celebrities into the gallery and create a mass portrait of tiny photographs taken identically but with each person performing in an individual way for the camera.
Occasionally artists include mirror reflections when making a portrait of someone else. In this way they can connect their portrait to ongoing work. Van Eyck's Arnolfini Marriage (National Gallery, London) and Las Meninas by Velasquez (The Prado, Spain) are probably the most fêted and wonderful examples of this particular format.

Often photographers will record themselves reflected in a shiny surface. Imogen Cunningham (1883-1976) famously made her self-portrait reflected in a San Francisco shop window. Or see this example of Harry Borden who took a long, thin mirror outside on the grass, making a visual conundrum.

Harry Borden, by Harry Borden, 1998 - NPG  - © Harry Borden

Harry Borden
by Harry Borden
1998
NPG x87889

You might make yourself a figure amongst many.
Peggy Angus was a friend of the family and includes herself standing by the piano with Ramsay MacDonald's family

Ramsay MacDonald with members of his family, by Margaret MacGregor (

Ramsay MacDonald with members of his family
by Margaret MacGregor ('Peggy') Angus
1930s
NPG 6102

 

 

James Ramsay MacDonald (enlarged detail)
by Margaret MacGregor ('Peggy') Angus

Study for Patrons and Lovers of Art by P.C.Wonder includes G.W.Taylor, W.Holwell-Carr, Sir James Murray & P.C. Wonder himself.

Study for

Study for 'Patrons and Lovers of Art'
by Pieter Christoffel Wonder
1826-1830
NPG 792



 

Study for 'Patrons and Lovers of Art' (enlarged detail)
by Pieter Christoffel Wonder

Here Jerry Barrett is a voyeur at the window viewing Florence Nightingale receiving the wounded at Scutari.



'The Mission of Mercy' (enlarged detail) by Jerry Barrett, 1857

'The Mission of Mercy' (enlarged detail)
by Jerry Barrett, 1857



Perhaps with this back view Jemima Blackburn provides us with information about her modesty and position in society whilst ensuring her presence in the work as artist and participant.

Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Bt showing his pictures, by Jemima Blackburn (née Wedderburn), 1844 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Bt showing his pictures
by Jemima Blackburn (née Wedderburn)
1844
NPG 2772(28a)




Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Bt showing his pictures (enlarged detail)
by Jemima Blackburn (née Wedderburn)

Paul Nash included himself in this musical group



Musical Group (enlarged detail)
by Paul Nash

You might like to show yourself as an artist amongst artists, thus confirming your status as ARTIST
These images show artists at work or meeting with contemporary colleagues. It is interesting to see where they put themselves within the painted compositions.


Private View of the Old Masters (enlarged detail) Exhibition, Royal Academy 1888 by Henry Jamyn Brooks, 1889

Private View of the Old Masters (enlarged detail)
Exhibition, Royal Academy 1888
by Henry Jamyn Brooks, 1889

In a 1914 account , Brooks wrote about the difficulty he had creating the parquet floor in perspective .




'A Conversation of Virtuosis...at the Kings Arms' (enlarged detail)
by Gawen Hamilton

The Selecting Jury of the New English Art Club, 1909, by Sir William Newenham Montague Orpen, 1909 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

The Selecting Jury of the New English Art Club, 1909
by Sir William Newenham Montague Orpen
1909
NPG 2556



The Selecting Jury of the New English Art Club, 1909 (enlarged detail)
by Sir William Orpen

The Academicians of the Royal Academy, by John Sanders, after  Johann Joseph Zoffany, (1772) - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

The Academicians of the Royal Academy
by John Sanders, after Johann Joseph Zoffany
(1772)
NPG 1437



Trevor Leighton with his daughter Rosie, by Trevor Leighton, 1990s - NPG  - © Trevor Leighton / National Portrait Gallery, London

Trevor Leighton with his daughter Rosie
by Trevor Leighton
1990s
NPG x126170





James Barry; Dominique Lefevre; James Paine the Younger (enlarged detail)
by James Barry

 

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