Charles Eastlake PRA

The General Assembly Room at the RA (its main meeting room) has been redecorated, painted carmine, much to its benefit, and hung with more portraits which reveal more of the RA’s history, including its recent history.   I spent the morning looking across the room at Charles Eastlake, painted by John Prescott Knight and looking rather watery eyed.   Eastlake is much revered at the National Gallery as its first proper Director, responsible for great acquisitions;  but I’ve never been convinced that historians remember, or are aware, that he was simultaneously chairing Council meetings and involved in the hang of the Summer Exhibition as PRA:-

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6 thoughts on “Charles Eastlake PRA

  1. Toshio Kusamitsu says:

    I remember from Charles’s book on the National Gallery that Eastlake was, as the director of the NG, responsible in establishing the NG as a more properly oriented art history museum from its original Grand Tour taste gallery by acquiring Piero della Francesca etc. He was indeed a remarkable man.

  2. Eastlake was indeed a great Director of the National Gallery, securing the wonderful Italian Primitives : Duccio and Filippino Lippi, including Duccio’s great triptych, The Virgin and Child with Saints. Without him we would not have the glorious Piero della Francescas that he and his wife, and their friend, John Charles Robinson, discovered in Sansepolcro, first The Baptism of Christ and then St Michael.

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