> > > Georgian Faces : Portrait of a County

George Pitt, First Lord Rivers (1721-1803) as Colonel of the Dorset Militia, Thomas Gooch, 1782

Private Collection

15 January 2011 30 April 2011

A major exhibition of portraits showing the people who lived in and influenced Dorset during the eighteenth-century. In addition to showing the important landowners who built major houses in the county, there will be images of architects, artists, doctors, a deer catcher and a boatman.

Most of the important portrait artists of the eighteenth century, including Sir Joshua Reynolds, George Romney, Thomas Gainsborough and Allan Ramsay are represented. Three of the painters featured in the exhibition, Sir James Thornhill, Giles Hussey and Thomas Beach were all born in Dorset.

The exhibition will show that Dorset was not an isolated rural county, but was aware of the latest thinking, ideas and intellectual developments coming out of London. This included rural centres such as Blandford Forum, where a circle of natural philosophers were based. They in turn returned to the capital with their local discourses in natural philosophy, antiquarianism and archaeology.

Dorset was also in the spotlight towards the end of the century when George III came to Weymouth for his health following his first attack of porphyria. From 1789 to 1805 he regularly stayed in the town essentially requiring the court to relocate to the Dorset coast every year.

The exhibition is being generously supported by a number of local businesses including Axa Art Insurance Limited, Duke's of Dorchester, Fine Art Auctioneers, Farrow & Ball, Humphries Kirk andR.K.Harrison Insurance Services, as well as several trusts and private donors.

Please see the exciting progamme of events and lectures for Georgian Faces below.