Thomas Lawrence - Learning Activities

It’s 1776 … over 240 years ago.
Meet little Tom, age 7.

He loves drawing people!
His mum and dad run The Black Bear inn in Devizes.
The pub is between London and Bath and lots of famous writers and actors stay there when they are travelling by carriage between the two cities.
People seem to like meeting Tom. He sometimes sketches them and is really good at catching what they look like.
A famous writer called Frances Burney has just written a letter which describes him as “a most lovely Boy of 10 years of Age, who seems to be not merely the wonder of their Family, but of the Times for his astonishing skill in Drawing.”

Its 1780, Tom is now 11 and his whole family has moved to Bath.

Bath is a very fashionable city and rich people come here to go shopping, dancing and gambling. They also like to sit for their portraits
Tom can make money by drawing small portraits for tourists; enough money to help pay the rent on the house where they live!

People are fascinated by this young boy and his talent. He’s getting better and better at drawing and is learning how to use soft pastels so he can make portraits in colour too.

At 16 Thomas wants to develop his skills and learn how to use oil paints! Rich people want big oil paintings of themselves to show in their grand houses (remember there aren’t any cameras or phones!) He goes to look at famous paintings from the past to learn how to paint. He knows that to make his name in London he will have to start painting larger portraits.

Now Thomas is eighteen!

He is going to London to the Royal Academy. He knows he is good at painting – it’s time to show the world by putting some of his artwork into a competition in the summer exhibition.

Do you think Thomas succeeded in becoming a great portrait painter?
Look at the online exhibition to see who he painted next.

Games and Resources

Now it’s your turn to have a go at drawing a portrait (or two!)

Play Spot the Difference and get to know an unfinished painting that Thomas made after he went to London.

Why didn’t he finish this?
Do you like this painting?
Who is the person he has painted?
How old do you think they are?

Our last activity shows Thomas when he was an older man and had built a successful career.

Can you help decorate his sitting room?

Lawrence - Spot the Difference