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Room 18

Portrait! Portrait!! Portrait!!!: Exhibition Culture

The market for art, literature and entertainment expanded rapidly from the 1750s. Increasing prosperity meant more people could enjoy the arts and popular culture. The personalities presented in this gallery were figures from art, literature, drama, music and other forms of performance, including the martial arts. Their portraits were often made to promote them and their work. After the founding of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1768, exhibitions were a highlight of the social calendar. These displays were dominated by portraiture, which was judged a national passion. It was also derided as a sign of national vanity, one art critic protested: ‘Portrait ! Portrait !! Portrait !!! intrudes on every side’.

72 portraits on display in Room 18 on Floor 3 at the National Portrait Gallery

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Sir Joshua Reynolds, by Sir Joshua Reynolds - NPG 41

Sir Joshua Reynolds

by Sir Joshua Reynolds
oil on canvas, circa 1747-1749
On display in Room 18 on Floor 3 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 41

Peg Woffington, by John Lewis - NPG 5729

Peg Woffington

by John Lewis
oil on canvas, feigned oval, 1753
On display in Room 18 on Floor 3 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 5729

Sir William Chambers, by Sir Joshua Reynolds - NPG 27

Sir William Chambers

by Sir Joshua Reynolds
oil on canvas, circa 1756
On display in Room 18 on Floor 3 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 27

George Frideric Handel, by Thomas Hudson - NPG 3970

George Frideric Handel

by Thomas Hudson
oil on canvas, 1756
On display in Room 18 on Floor 3 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 3970

Horace Walpole, by Sir Joshua Reynolds - NPG 6520

Horace Walpole

by Sir Joshua Reynolds
oil on canvas, circa 1756-1757
On display in Room 18 on Floor 3 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 6520

Thomas Gainsborough, by Thomas Gainsborough - NPG 4446

Thomas Gainsborough

by Thomas Gainsborough
oil on canvas, circa 1759
On display in Room 18 on Floor 3 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 4446

Laurence Sterne, by Sir Joshua Reynolds - NPG 5019

Laurence Sterne

by Sir Joshua Reynolds
oil on canvas, 1760
On display in Room 18 on Floor 3 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 5019

Anna Seward, by Tilly Kettle - NPG 2017

Anna Seward

by Tilly Kettle
oil on canvas, 1762
On display in Room 18 on Floor 3 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 2017

Kitty Fisher, by Nathaniel Hone - NPG 2354

Kitty Fisher

by Nathaniel Hone
oil on canvas, 1765
On display in Room 18 on Floor 3 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 2354

John Hamilton Mortimer with a student, after John Hamilton Mortimer - NPG 234

John Hamilton Mortimer with a student

after John Hamilton Mortimer
oil on canvas, circa 1765
On display in Room 18 on Floor 3 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 234

Karl Friedrich Abel, by Thomas Gainsborough - NPG 5947

Karl Friedrich Abel

by Thomas Gainsborough
oil on canvas, circa 1765
On display in Room 18 on Floor 3 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 5947

Samuel Foote, by Jean François Colson - NPG 4904

Samuel Foote

by Jean François Colson
oil on canvas, 1769
On display in Room 18 on Floor 3 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 4904

Robert Adam, attributed to George Willison - NPG 2953

Robert Adam

attributed to George Willison
oil on canvas, circa 1770-1774
On display in Room 18 on Floor 3 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 2953

Thomas Day, by Joseph Wright - NPG 2490

Thomas Day

by Joseph Wright
oil on canvas, 1770
On display in Room 18 on Floor 3 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 2490

Oliver Goldsmith, studio of Sir Joshua Reynolds - NPG 130

Oliver Goldsmith

studio of Sir Joshua Reynolds
oil on canvas, circa 1770 or after
On display in Room 18 on Floor 3 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 130

Angelica Kauffmann, by Angelica Kauffmann - NPG 430

Angelica Kauffmann

by Angelica Kauffmann
oil on canvas, circa 1770-1775
On display in Room 18 on Floor 3 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 430

Mary Moser, by George Romney - NPG 6641

Mary Moser

by George Romney
oil on canvas, circa 1770-1771
On display in Room 18 on Floor 3 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 6641

Sir Joseph Banks, Bt, by Sir Joshua Reynolds - NPG 5868

Sir Joseph Banks, Bt

by Sir Joshua Reynolds
oil on canvas, 1771-1773
On display in Room 18 on Floor 3 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 5868