When was the last time you took time to invest in your own creativity? Today I decided to visit the National Portrait Gallery in London to immerse myself in the artwork and try something different.
I’d never been there before and knew there was an Audrey Hepburn photographic exhibition on, so seeing as I was in the area for a meeting today, I stopped by.
It’s steeped in history – the National Portrait Gallery @NPGlondon, was formally established on 2 December 1856 after Philip Henry Stanhope, 5th Earl Stanhope (1805-1875) introduced the idea to the House of Commons.
On 4 March 1856 he made a statement to the House of Lords pleading for the establishment of a National Portrait Gallery, ‘…a gallery of original portraits, such portraits to consist as far as possible of those persons who are most honourably commemorated in British history as warriors or as statesmen, or in arts, in literature or in science’.
Stanhope urged the immediate foundation of the Gallery in temporary accommodation, and with Queen Victoria’s approval, three months after the debate, the House of Commons agreed to vote a sum of £2000 towards the establishment of a “British Historical Portrait Gallery”.
It has 200,000 paintings and sculptures and it’s a calming and reflective place to spend time in. I sat and added to my growing notepad of ideas and thoughts ahead of my return to work in September post-maternity leave.
The portraits are striking, from Keates to Beatrix Potter, and Robert Louis Stevenson to Royalty, each room is packed with evocative images of familiar and historical faces.
I wandered around in amazement absorbing the oil paintings and sculptures and stopping to appreciate their intricacies and the skills involved.
A very stylish exhibition
The Audrey Hepburn exhibition, Portraits of an Icon, was as stunning as I hoped it would be. The 70 or so images illustrated the life of the actress and fashion icon perfectly. I’ve read numerous biographies about her over the years and seen hundreds of images.
Yet I was surprised to find pictures I’d never seen before among a pair of her ballet shoes and some of the well-known production shots.
It’s a thoughtfully curated exhibition and I think it showcases everything she was loved for and continues to be remembered fondly for, from her acting to UNICEF activities.
Photographers included Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Terry O’Neill, Norman Parkinson and Irving Penn, I particularly liked the wall of vintage magazine covers that illustrated her story.
If you’re not able to attend in person, you can see it for yourself via the gallery’s Twitter tour #Hepburn. The exhibition runs until 18 October 2015.
How do you stimulate your creativity? I’d love to know your stories, you’re welcome to comment below or Tweet me @AllthingsIC.
P.s. The headline of this article is taken from Patricia Neal’s quote in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) about being “a very stylish girl”.
Post author: Rachel Miller
First published on All Things IC blog 13 August 2015.