Sir Thomas Lawrence PRA, Self-portrait of Sir Thomas Lawrence P.R.A.

Self-portrait of Sir Thomas Lawrence P.R.A., ca. 1825

Sir Thomas Lawrence PRA (1769 - 1830)

RA Collection: Art

Sir Thomas Lawrence was a child prodigy who became the leading British portrait painter of his generation. He entered the Royal Academy Schools aged eighteen, and in 1820 was elected President of the Royal Academy, a post he held until his death.

This unfinished self-portrait may be the one commissioned by George IV, in which he is supposed to have suggested that the artist wear 'the costume of his Doctor-of-laws gown' but not the cap as 'we shall not recognise you without your bald head'. If so, Lawrence has rather pointedly instead portrayed himself in everyday clothes without any props to embellish or elevate his image.

It shows the artist dramatically emerging from a dark background and is painted with all the technical virtuosity for which he was famed throughout Europe.

Object details

Self-portrait of Sir Thomas Lawrence P.R.A.
ca. 1825
Object type
Oil on canvas

910 mm x 714 mm, Weight: 27.4 kg

Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
Purchased from George Stanhope, 7th Earl of Chesterfield in 3 April 1867

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