Portraying the Past: Paintings from the Society of Antiquaries of London

The Society of Antiquaries of London originated in 1707, and was formally constituted in 1718. I recently attended their exhibition Portraying the Past, which showcased many of the Society’s collections, which largely originated in the 18th and 19th centuries before the establishment of national museums and galleries, when discerning collectors were looking for somewhere to safely leave their collections.

Based in Burlington House, near the Royal Academy, the exhibition takes place in the Meeting Room, Council Room and Main Staircase of the Society. These are worthwhile attractions in their own right, with their ornate furniture and sense of history. Of even greater interest, however, are the collections displayed on the walls. These include the famous Hans Eworth portrait of Mary I, well-known pictures of Edward IV, Richard III and other monarchs, important figures in the history of the Society and paintings of landmarks such as Stonehenge. Definitely worth a look around.