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Thomas Lawrence, manuscript discourse

RA Collection: Archive

Reference code



Thomas Lawrence, manuscript discourse


10 Dec 1829



Extent & medium


Content Description

An extended attempt to explain the recurrent difficulties in establishing a British school of history painting; Lawrence unpicks various strands of art theory and history in his argument, reserving particular opprobium for an un-named connoisseur [R.P. Knight?].

He asserts that France has now acknowledged the strength of the British school, listing the artists who have helped to achieve this change, Reynolds, Gainsborough and Wilson chief among the deceased worthies.

Lawrence points to a work by Johann Overbeck [a copy of which is apparently in the room] as an example of the type of contemporary history painting that he feels should be pursued; he finishes with a grand exhortation to the private and public benefactors of Britain.