Thomas Lawrence
British, 1769-1830
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Collected by major museums
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields

Thomas Lawrence was a prodigiously talented draughtsman, first noticed at the age of ten for his uncanny ability to draw people’s likenesses. At 20, he received his first major commission for a portrait, and quickly became one of the preeminent portrait artists in England with the blessing and encouragement of Sir Joshua Reynolds. Lawrence made portraits in pastel and oil paint, and his pencil drawings were in high demand as well. He was lauded for his ability to paint rich colors and textures, as well as for his theatrical and expressive compositions. His usual process was to make a detailed drawing of his subject’s head or the whole figure onto the canvas and paint over it. Lawrence personally expressed his interest in history painting, but could never devote his time to the pursuit.

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