Fashionable Likeness: Pastel Portraits in 18th-Century Britain

Exhibition Website

Nov 1 2016 - May 7 2017

In the 18th century, portraits, no longer a prerogative of the nobility, were commissioned by wider sections of British society, including the newly rich. Eager to affirm their elevated social status, sitters were depicted in the latest fashion. Pastel, with its unique texture and luminosity, served as a highly suitable medium to capture sitters’ evanescent expressions, elaborate hairstyles, and sumptuous clothing. It also offered practical advantages over oil because it took less time to dry, and materials were easily portable and less costly. This focused installation features two private loans and works from the Museum’s collection.

Exhibition overview from museum website

  • Works on Paper
  • British
  • 18th Century
  • Portrait
  • Various artists

Exhibition Venues & Dates