Lawrence and Constable

 

Inner Picture


An exhibition in collaboration with Orleans House Gallery, London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames
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Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830) and John Constable (1776-1837) by Daniel McGuckin

Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830) and John Constable (1776-1837)
by Daniel McGuckin

Daniel's installation is inspired by the death masks of the painters John Constable and Sir Thomas Lawrence. The painters are represented by a facial cast, as well as a palette, in reference to their profession. These objects are presented in a coffin, to show the sitter laid to rest.
  
Sir Thomas Lawrence, by Unknown artist, 1830 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Sir Thomas Lawrence
by Unknown artist
1830
NPG 1634

 
John Constable, by Samuel Joseph, 1958 (1837) - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

John Constable
by Samuel Joseph
1958 (1837)
NPG 4063

Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830)
by unknown artist
Plaster cast of death mask and right hand, 1837
NPG 1634
John Constable (1776-1837)
by Samuel Joseph (1791-1850)
Bronze cast of death-mask, 1837
NPG 4063

Sir Thomas Lawrence died unexpectedly in January 1830 from symptoms related to exhaustion. His career had began in the 1780s as a child-prodigy working in pastel. Over the following forty years he painted the portrait of nearly every major person of the time. He was the ultimate image maker of the regency.

Death mask were very fashionable during the early nineteenth century when they were thought to immortalize the exact features of great men for posterity. However, this death mask is particularly unusual. The pillow, blanket and collar have all been added to present a more heroic image of the artist on his death bed.

John Constable is celebrated as one of England's greatest landscape artists. He drew inspiration from his native Suffolk. He made hundreds of outdoor oil sketches, which capture the changing skies with near scientific precision. Constable met with little contemporary success at home. However, The Hay Wain did receive a gold medal at the Paris Salon of 1824. This is a bronze cast of Constable's death mask.
 

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