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A rigid surface of metal, card or wood used to paint on. A wide range of prepared woods were used in the past, oak being the most traditional in much of Northern Europe. Panels were the most popular supports for easel-painting in Britain until canvas took over in the seventeenth century. Today a wide range of economical wood or composition boards are used as painting supports, either painted on direct or, more usually, primed with gesso, an egg emulsion or with an oil undercoat.

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King Edward IV
by Unknown English artist
circa 1540
NPG 3542

Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey
after William Scrots
circa 1570-1580s, based on a work of 1546
NPG 4952

Robert Vernon
by George Jones, and Henry Collen
NPG 4513

Frederick Burnaby
by James Jacques Tissot
NPG 2642

Isaac Rosenberg
by Isaac Rosenberg
NPG 4129

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