A new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery displays the photography of Rupert Potter, father of the beloved children’s author Beatrix
The amateur photography of Beatrix Potter’s father Rupert will be explored in a new display opening at the National Portrait Gallery to celebrate the centenary of his death. As well as two new acquisitions showing Beatrix Potter on holiday with her father, The World of Rupert Potter: Photographs of Beatrix, Millais and Friends will display portraits taken by Rupert Potter of close family friends, showing the circles within which he socialised and the influence this had on his daughter’s life and work.
Rupert Potter (1832-1914) was a lawyer and a keen photographer who took many carefully posed portraits, particularly during the Potters’ summer holidays in the Lake District and Scotland, displaying technical skill and aesthetic ability.
His particular interest was in portrait photography and, thanks to his friendship with the painter Sir John Everett Millais, Potter began taking photographs of Millais’ sitters and paintings. Millais was so impressed by Potter’s photographs that he often used them to assist his working process, such as for his ‘Rosebery’ portrait of William E Gladstone, the second of his four paintings of the Prime Minister.
Beatrix Potter’s journals from the 1880s and 1890s reveal the influence of her exposure to the art world and the life of a working artist before becoming one herself. She later used photography to aid her work, learning with one of her father’s old cameras.
The World of Rupert Potter: Photographs of Beatrix, Millais and Friends is on display at the National Portrait Gallery, London, 13 May to 16 November 2014, Room 28. For more information visit www.npg.org.uk
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