New Museum exhibition puts portraits ‘In the Frame’

A new exhibition opening at the City Museum and Art Gallery on Saturday 13 December will showcase some of Plymouth’s most important and interesting portraits.

In the Frame: Plymouth’s Portraits Revealed delves into the city’s collection, and presents new research about some of the characters who are new or rarely seen.

Visitors will be able to come face-to-face with maritime greats such as Sir Walter Raleigh, George Gibbon, Lieutenant Governor of Plymouth in the 1700s and Lord Robartes, who was the Governor of the Citadel during the Civil War.

They will also be able to see important local faces including William Cookworthy, who founded the Plymouth Porcelain factory in 1768, the last town crier of Devonport and members of the Eliot and Edgcumbe families.

Self-portraits of artists such as Edward Opie, James Northcote, John Collier and Sir Joshua Reynolds will also feature. The latter is a recent and highly significant acquisition for the Museum and Art Gallery.

Showing Reynolds at the age of 23, when he was establishing his career and running a studio in Plymouth Dock (now Devonport), the work was acquired with funding support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, The Art Fund, the V&A Purchase Grant Fund and the Friends of Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery.

A further section will also show how portraits of children have changed over time, from early depictions of them as heirs to family dynasties to the more relaxed, informal images that we are used to today.

In addition, four works in the show are new portraits that have been created by young people from the Plymouth area.

The Museum and Art Gallery has organised a number of events to coincide with In the Frame. The first of these is a family-friendly drop-in, also on Saturday 13 December, called ‘You’ve Been Framed’. The session will run from 10.30am to 1pm and is free of charge. People can drop in for as little or as long as they like and design their own self-portrait – just like Reynolds himself.

A programme of other family activities, Art Bites and Lunchtime Talks will run throughout 2015. For full details about the exhibition and events visit our In the Frame page.