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- Biography - Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery Information Centre
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Biography for Sir Thomas Lawrence



Lawrence was the most talented and admired portrait painter of the period 1790-1830, and he will inevitably be associated with the reign of George IV (1820-1830). His genius was that of the virtuoso - dazzling and supremely confident and a master of drapery and opulence in costume. As Prince of Wales, George acted as regent for his father, the ailing and at times insane George III. Lawrence painted him in 1814 and, from this date, the Prince Regent proved to be an invaluable patron and ally. The following year he was knighted by the future king and proceeded to Europe to paint the sovereigns and statesmen involved with the overthrow of Napoleon on his behalf. Lawrence became President of the Royal Academy in 1820, and helped with the founding of the National Gallery in 1824. He was an outstanding draughtsman, especially of children, and he also formed a distinguished collection of old master drawings - echoes of what he learned from the collection can be sensed in much of his own work

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