He was the most successful portrait painter of his age. He might be said to have added a rather theatrical Byronic quality to his eighteenth-century masters long before Byron himself captured London in words. Much of our rather romantic attitude towards the Regency probably owes something to the impression Lawrence’s portraits have left with us.
Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington by Thomas Lawrence.
Born in Bristol in 1769 and studied for a short time at the Royal Academy. His reputation was established with the exhibition in 1790 of his portrait of the actress Elizabeth Farren. He soon won royal patronage, and after the deaths of Reynolds and Hoppner he became the fashionable portrait painter of his day.
Portrait of The Fullerton Sisters
At the close of the Napoleonic Wars, Lawrence was knighted and commissioned to paint the leading sovereigns and statesmen of Europe. When he returned to England in 1820, he was elected president of the Royal Academy; he handled the affairs of his office with tact and urbanity. He died on Jan. 7, 1830.