Portraiture (or 'portrait painting') in England has a long history, and this is represented in RAMM's collection. In the making of a portrait, the relationship between artist and sitter is a complicated one, in which physical likeness is affected by the artist's style and the sitter's intentions.
In the eighteenth century, portraits were a staple of artistic production, even in the provinces. Although the aristocracy and gentry dominated the ranks of sitters, artists were also keen to make self-portraits. In addition artists also wanted to record the likenesses of their families, friends and colleagues, along with writers, actors and fellow artists. Although the invention of photography threatened the portrait industry, it remained an important artistic genre and is still significant today.
The significant portrait collection at RAMM features works by early 17th century artists to well known artists such as Pompeo Batoni, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, Thomas Hudson and Richard Crosse.