To celebrate the Holburne’s centenary in its current home, this exhibition gathers together the best of the Museum’s delightful eighteenth-century British portraits in pastel. A mixture of china clay, plaster and pigments pastel is little more than brightly coloured dust, as fragile as a butterfly’s wing, yet when applied to paper the effect can be magical.
Pastel (also called crayon) was a favourite new medium in Britain between about 1730 and 1830. It was restricted almost entirely to portraits, as it silkiness and luminosity were found to be particularly suitable for depicting skin and textiles.
The exhibition includes work by some of the great masters of eighteenth-century pastel painting, Jean-Etienne Liotard, John Russell, and Bath artists William Hoare and Lewis Vaslet.
Supported by Farrow & Ball