Dobson exhibition on the way!

Exciting news! Tate Britain in London will be holding an exhibition on William Dobson from 29th October 2018 to 28th April 2019.

Endymion Porter c.1642-5 by William Dobson 1611-1646

The show, called “William Dobson: Artist of the Civil War” will apparently focus on the impact of the conflict on his work, looking at how conditions in the King’s Oxford headquarters showed in the paintings Dobson produced during the four years he lived there among the Royalist court. The Tate promises to display pictures from its own collection – presumably to include those of Endymion Porter (above) and Dobson’s wife Judith – as well as works from private collections.

There have been a handful of small displays of Dobson’s works over the years, usually with no more than two or three canvases together at any one time, but nothing of this size has been held since the major exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in 1983. The Tate haven’t said exactly which pictures are included, but as a large number of known works are in private hands and haven’t been seen in public since the NPG event, this is a rare and unmissable chance to see some of the pictures we’ve only ever seen in black and white in a catalogue (unless you were lucky enough to visit in 1983!).

Naturally, as one of Dobson’s biggest fans, I’m intending to visit as soon as possible – hopefully more than once! –  and will post a review as soon as I can. If any readers are able to pay a visit,  please get in touch and tell us what you think. We’d love to hear reviews!

In the meantime,  I’d like to add a shameless plug for my Dobson biography,  “The King’s Painter” (pub. 2016), which is available from the publisher Tyger’s Head Books,  HERE.  The current print run has almost sold out, but more copies are on the way.  Before ordering, please drop THB an email or DM via Twitter, to ensure availability. 🙂

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Shakespeare Again?

In a previous post, we looked at the portraits of 17th century dramatists and playwrights, including the various surviving images of Shakespeare.

To add to this list, we now have the below portrait that is claimed to be a 17th century portrayal of the Bard, although the sellers offer no further information, such as provenance or an estimated date of completion, only that it is oil on board.

Shakespeare

When compared to one of  two portraits believed most likely to have been painted from life, known as the ‘Chandos’ portrait, this one isn’t far off the mark, and may well have been copied from it.

ShakespeareChandos

That said, I’m not entirely convinced the new picture is 17th century at all. Allowing for the artistic licence that makes the sitter more brooding Hollywood vampire than the more ordinary looking fellow beneath, something about the style and finish of it doesn’t strike me as 1600s.  What do readers think?

You can view the sale page here.

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