Friday, August 29, 2014

The National Portrait Gallery, London, England

Living in Bellingham on the West Coast of the United States I don't often get to see old masterpieces. So when I travel to the great cities of the world I love to take some time and spend it in their museums.   

 London is no exception. One of my favorite museums in London is The National Portrait Gallery.

 This is a fun place to visit if you're into English history, or if you are a painter interested in learning more about painting. 

 Other great reasons to go to this museum are if you enjoy fashion history it's fun to look at the clothes through the ages.

  If you love a good story there are plenty of those. Where there's a great scandal there's a great portrait . Here are some of my favorites.

                 Here's the story behind this painting. What a brave soul in so many ways.

Born in France, The Chevalier Deon (Charles Genevieve Louise Auguste Andre Timothee Deo De Beaumont)  had a successful career as a soldier, diplomat and spy before publicly changing gender. He first came to London in 1763 to negotiate peace for France at the end of the Seven Year War. Ordered to return to France Deon refused and blackmailed the French court with his knowledge of secret invasion plans against England. Rumors spread that Deon was a woman in disguise. These rumors were encouraged by Deon and spread from 1771 on wards and were widely believed.  In 1777 the French offered Deon an income if he henceforth exclusively wore women's clothing. Dion accepted and returned home. He came back to England in 1785 and had a successful career as a celebrity female fencer.

Painting is by Thomas Stewart 

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