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National Gallery of London to acquire ‘Red Boy’ portrait of Thomas Lawrence for £9.3M

The famed portrait of Sir Thomas Lawrence, of Charles William Lambton- “Red Boy ” will soon join the National Gallery of London. The institution has given its commitment to buy the work from a private collection at £9.3 M.

In a statement, the National Gallery has said that this purchase is a unique opportunity. It will let them acquire a very important painting of one of the finest European Portraitists of 19th century. It holds a very outstanding significance among the national heritage of Britain.

This painting is a depiction of a pensive boy clad sitting in a crimson velvet suit. This painting got its first exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1825. In 1967 the painting became the first painting ever which had been featured on a British postage stamp. Since then, it has become a fixture on the shortbread tins and British toffee.

Now, this painting gets consideration as a national icon. The English Romantic poet William Wordsworth has remarked after viewing it, “Lawrence’s portrait of young Lambton is a wretched histrionic thing; the public taste must be vitiated indeed if that is admired.”

A writer from the Times of London also praised the sparkling intelligence of the youthfulness in the portrait.

In 1833 at the peak of its popularity and maturity as an artist, the British painter Thomas Lawrence got the commission to create this painting. The father of this subject, John George Lambton, commissioned him. Its scale and the imagery are quite unusual as per the style of a 19th-century portrait of a young child. Here in the portrait, Charles is sitting outdoors at night on a rocky headland while looking at the sea. He posed informally with an arm bent and giving a gaze of wonder.

The director of the National Gallery, Gabriele Finaldi, has called this portrait “dazzling” and “a tour de force of technical brilliance and at the same time a moving representation of a young boy becoming self-aware.”

The collection of the institution is strong with the children’s paintings of the artists like Hogarth, Murillo, Liotard, Gainsborough, and Vigee Le Brun. Hence Finalis is quite confident that after the acquiring of the painting, it will quickly become a much-admired one.