Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

THE BIG PICTURE GALLERY BUYS 25ft-HIGH PAINTING OF STAGE LEGEND

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

THE BIG PICTURE GALLERY BUYS 25ft-HIGH PAINTING OF STAGE LEGEND

Article excerpt

Byline: Louise Jury Chief Arts Correspondent

A GIANT painting of one of Britain's most famous actormanagers by the master portrait painter of his age has been bought by the National Portrait Gallery.

The 25ft-high portrait by Sir Thomas Lawrence shows John Philip Kemble, a member of a famous acting family which also included the tragedienne Sarah Siddons, Kemble's sister.

The work was already on loan to the gallery for only the second public viewing since it entered a private family collection more than 170 years ago.

But the gallery has struck a deal with the owner, John Philips, to buy the work with the help of a [pounds sterling]55,000 award from The Art Fund charity. The total cost after tax concessions was [pounds sterling]178,500.

Mr Philips is selling the portrait to fund the maintenance of the stately home, Heath House, Staffordshire, where it has hung for six generations. The oil painting shows Kemble at the height of his career in the lead role in Joseph Addison's play, Cato, about the last days of Roman statesman, Cato the Younger. …

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