The Golden Age of English Art at the National Gallery with Hattie Bennett - Context Travel

The Golden Age of English Art at the National Gallery with Hattie Bennett


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In this talk, we will question why it was only in the 18th century that an established "English School" of art began. Beginning with William Hogarth who attempted to create an English style, ignoring influences from the continent, we will trace the development of a national style, through the founding of the Royal Academy and explore the influence of succeeding generations of artists.

"I love the opportunity to continue to learn even when I can’t travel."

The image of the English Country Gent is personified by Thomas Gainsborough in his portrait of the Suffolk landowner Robert Andrews and his wife Francis elegantly placed in a glorious English countryside. From this painting two strands of English art, that of portraiture and landscape begins. In this talk, we will look at the life and work of Thomas Gainsborough from provincial artist to fashionable society painter and contrast his art against his great rival, Sir Joshua Reynolds, the founder of the Royal Academy, who transformed his aristocratic patrons into classically inspired paragons with motifs borrowed from the renaissance. Joseph Wright of Derby used dramatic light to illuminate his scientific scenes of the Enlightenment whilst George Stubbs' understanding of the physiognomy of the horse enabled startlingly realistic paintings of the animal in motion which capture the British love affair with the horse. George Romney perfected the close bond of mother and child in his charming portraits. The landscapes of Constable give a naturalistic view of the English landscape whilst Turner injects his scenes with intense Romantic sensibilities, both artists much admired by the French Impressionists.

"Hattie was excellent. The pace was perfect for the material she covered."

Led by an expert on Art History, Hattie Bennett, this interactive seminar will focus on British 18th and 19th-century art, The Golden Age. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of the development of a British National School of Art.

"Hattie Bennett was wonderful. She spoke with passion and enthusiasm, and shared great insight into the art and artists of the period."

Hattie has a degree in History of Art and an MA in Historic Interiors, she has a life-long passion and fascination in Fine and Decorative Arts, particularly works produced in Europe from the 16th to 18th century. After working for the Royal Collection in the Print Room at Windsor Castle, she was a curator for a private collector of 17th and 18th century prints and drawings. Hattie has worked for London's foremost framer of important old master paintings during which time she sharpened her appreciation and understanding of the decorative arts and the changing tastes of collecting. Recently she has been dealing in prints and works of art as well as taking groups of all ages to museums and galleries.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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