Investigating drawing - Chalk
Chalk and charcoal are the most basic of drawing materials, and used both to make sketches and finished works.
Chalk is a drawing material, similar in texture and appearance to pastel, made from various soft stones or earths. The three main types are black, red (also called sanguine) and white chalk. They are applied dry to paper and smudge easily so can be blended and mixed. The use of black and white is an effective technique for drawing portraits and showing the contours of a face. Today processed coloured chalks are produced by mixing the limestone rock used in white chalk with pigment, water, and a binding agent such as gum.
The miniaturist Richard Gibson described Van Dyck's technique during the 17th century in the following way.
The artist....' would take a little piece of blue paper upon a board before him & look upon the Life & draw his figure & postures all in suden line, as angles with black Chalke, and heighten with white chalke.'
A selection of examples from the Gallery's collections
- George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury by an unknown artist
- Carl Friedrich Abel by Thomas Gainsborough
- Richard Parkes Bonington by Margaret Sarah Carpenter
Visit From Your Armchair
Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize
An online exhibition celebrating the very best in contemporary portrait photography.
Explore our community photography project, which presents a personal record of the UK during lockdown.
Sculptures in 360°
See sculptures and fascinating objects from our Collection from all angles.
David Hockney: Drawing from Life
Watch highlights from our special exhibition, which had to close early in March 2020 due to lockdown.