The portrait has always been at the heart of the history of painting. Its purpose has been, in part, to celebrate the external appearance of the person being portrayed, yet the portrait also represents far more than this – it seeks to interpret and somehow present the intimate life and uniqueness of the sitter.
As You See Me is a brand new and original exhibition of British portraits. The aim is to reveal the history of a technique called sight-size that was widely used since the early 18th century, until the era of Modernism. Sight-size is a way of working from nature to the scale of life, so that the finished portrait has the very presence of the sitter. The first part of exhibition will include portraits by Sir Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough and Sir Thomas Lawrence, amongst others. The main part of the exhibition will showcase the work of Salisbury-based portrait painter Nicholas Beer, whose work is a contemporary expression of the sight-size tradition.
Over the course of the exhibition, Nicholas will be setting up a studio in the Exhibition Gallery and painting a portrait of the museum’s Director, Adrian Green.