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Painting Childhood: From Holbein to Freud

16 March – 16 June 2019

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Children have always fascinated artists. This is a celebration of some of the most iconic paintings of children produced over the past 500 years.

Through stunning portraits, amusing genre scenes and touching ‘fancy pictures’, we will explore the creative process and the specific challenges posed by painting children: from how to capture the fleeting moments of youth,
to how to encourage young subjects to sit still. The exhibition addresses themes including royal portraits, play and learning, and the fantasy and reality of children’s lives.

It concludes with a series of paintings, sketches and sculptures by Stanley Spencer, Louise Bourgeois, Jacob Epstein and Lucian Freud. These offer deeply personal insights into the place of family within an artist’s life, and the ongoing dialogue between biography and creativity.

Franz Xaver Winterhalter, King Edward VII (1841-1910), When Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, 1846, Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018


Different Ways

1 June: Expressive session 7 June: Contemplate session 11am – 1pm


Experience the exhibition in your way with these two new free sessions:


1 June, 11am – 1pm

Want to sit on the floor and draw? Kick your shoes off and walk around in your socks? Play a game, sing, talk, chat, have a proper belly laugh? Then join us for this Saturday morning session where we relax the rules and let you experience the exhibition in your own way.


7 June, 11am – 1pm

Come and sit in peace and quiet and contemplate the exhibition, write or draw in comparative silence. We’ll keep the noise down and let you experience the exhibition in your own way.


Please note you will need a valid Membership, Annual Pass Exhibition Upgrade or Day Ticket.