Portrait of Mary Sturt of Crichel and Her Three Eldest Children, about 1777, Daniel Gardner; pencil, pastel, and opaque watercolor. Private collection. Image © Christie's Images Limited (2013)

Fashionable Likeness: Pastel Portraits in 18th-Century Britain


South Pavilion, Upper Level

Exploring the world of pastel portraiture in eighteenth-century Britain, this focused installation features works from the Museum's collection and two exceptional private loans. Portraits were increasingly commissioned by the newly rich, who, eager to assert their elevated social status, displayed the latest fashions. The luminous pastel medium effectively captured sitters' elaborate hairstyles, sumptuous clothing, and fleeting expressions, yielding some of the most evocative and spirited art of the time.

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