Why Do People Pose? (05:47)
The National Portrait Gallery is the first museum dedicated to portraiture. Fiona Shaw poses for a group of school children. A person's face is the most powerful social tool; there are seven universal facial expressions.
Richard II (05:03)
Portraits express identity, are icons, and commemorate the dead. Anthony Van Dyke depicts Lady Digby after she died. Richard II's portrait is the first painting where royalty is pictured not in profile; it resides in Westminster Abbey.
Tudor Court Portraits (05:00)
The National Portrait Gallery houses three depictions of Elizabeth I including the Ditchley portrait. The vast majority of images of the queen are not from real life. Shaw and a curator discuss how courtiers controlled her image.
Thomas Lawrence depicts the prince-regent as an immaculate hero twenty years younger. James Gillray and Thomas Rawlinson satirize rulers in the 19th Century. Gerald Scarfe lampoons modern politicians such as Tony Blair, choosing a trait to exaggerate in order to make the image recognizable.
Private Portraits (05:36)
Portraits can assert a position in society, reinforce authority, or as a gift. Tudors wear miniatures next to their heart; Shaw explains how a portrait of Henry VII stood in for the king when it was sent to Rome. Harry Jacob's Studio caters to the immigrant population of Brixton.
Palace of Holyroodhouse (02:36)
Charles II commissioned Jacob De Wit to make portraits to promote the Stuart Dynasty. The Kings of Scotland are portrayed wearing long cloaks with ermine.
National Portrait Gallery (09:42)
Philip Stanhope, Thomas Babington Macaulay, and Thomas Carlyle wanted to document history through individuals. The founders set rules that they would not obtain a portrait until an individual had been dead for ten years. Fame had to be developed and decided by a contemporary.
Credits: Portraits and the Nation (00:24)
Credits: Portraits and the Nation
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