Lucian Freud Sketchbooks

Lucian Freud Sketchbooks cover


Publication Date: 7 July 2016
Format: 220 x 220mm
Extent: 108 pages
Illustrations: 70
ISBN: 978 1 85514 715 7
Price: £18.95 (hardback)
Category: Fine art

Out of print

Introduction by Sarah Howgate
With an essay by Martin Gayford


‘Dipping into these pages is rather like meeting Lucian himself all over again.’

— Martin Gayford

Lucian Freud was one of the world’s greatest realist artists. Working only from life, he once claimed, ‘I could never put anything into a picture that wasn’t there in front of me.’

This revelatory publication features a selection of beautifully reproduced images from his sketchbooks. Most of the sketches – which include works in pencil, pastel and watercolour from across the artist’s long career – are published here for the first time. These fascinating images extend our understanding of Freud’s work and demonstrate the scrutiny he brought to his subjects.

The sketchbooks, now in the archive of the National Portrait Gallery, London, include portraits of Freud’s family members, friends and lovers. Designs for book covers, images of his beloved dogs and horses, landscapes and interiors appear among nudes, still lifes and several sketches that relate to major works. Around and between the drawings are Freud’s annotations and jottings – appointments, racing tips, notes, musings – which, with startling immediacy, provide a glimpse into the working life of one of the twentieth century’s most important artists. The book includes an insightful essay by Martin Gayford, who sat for portraits by Freud and knew him well, and an illustrated chronology of the artist’s life.


Martin Gayford is Senior Research Fellow in the History of Art at the University of Buckingham and art critic of the Spectator. He is the author of Man with a Blue Scarf (2010), in which he described the experience of sitting for portraits by Lucian Freud.

Sarah Howgate is Senior Curator of Contemporary Collections at the National Portrait Gallery, London, and curated the exhibition Lucian Freud Portraits in 2012.