Liz Rideal

Liz Rideal Art Resource Developer

Job description

My work at the gallery over the past 30 years has involved a variety of roles; creating participatory projects, managing the practical art programme, lecturing, curating exhibitions and writing. The focus has been on looking at the main Collection particularly in the context of temporary exhibitions, whether these be contemporary or historic. In my current post I write and develop web resources for distance learning audiences, and recent online publications include; Identity and Self Image, Portrait Photography - From the Victorians to the Present Day, Investigating Drawing and Portraits – Art History.


I studied for a BA in English and Fine Art at Exeter University and Art College where I also gained a PGCE and joined the National Portrait Gallery in 1982 as Curator, Art Education Officer. I became part-time in 1992 when I took up a lectureship in the Painting Department of the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL. I am a practising artist working across media also creating temporary and permanent artworks in significant architectural spaces. I continue to receive invitations to lecture to students and the general public on both my artwork and related portrait research activities.

Research interests

I am interested in the aesthetic and cultural qualities of cloth; how it is depicted in portraits as clothing or interior drapery decoration, its significance as indicator of status and the emotional temperature that it can convey. I have curated three exhibitions on the subject of the self-portrait - How do artists see themselves? (1991) Mirror/Mirror: Self-portraits by Women Artists (2001) and A Question of Identity: Self-portrait Photographs 1850 – 2000, (2006). These aspects together with the perennial necessity and fascination of the genre of portraiture and its continuing evolution are my area of concern. An additional research profile can be viewed through my research profile.

Recent Publications

Golden Years? 1905-1950: a non-digital world. Self-expression, self-promotion, self-preservation. for the catalogue Self-portraits for the exhibition at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark, 14/009/12-14/01/13.
Insights: Self-portraits, (2005) was the first National Portrait Gallery publication to concentrate exclusively on self-portraiture.
Drapery and Pattern in Portrait Painting as a Source for my Work in the Photo-booth, with particular reference to ‘The Curtain Maker’ William Larkin
published by, The Journal of Cloth and Culture, Berg, Oxford & New York, 2003 Mirror/Mirror: Self-portraits by Women Artists, published by the National Portrait Gallery, London, England, & Watson-Guptill, New York. 2001

To see more of Liz’s research activities, visit her page.


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