Philip de László - Master of Elegance

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This book has been published by The de László Archive Trust, to accompany the exhibition Philip de László: Master of Elegance at Gainsborough's House, in The Timothy and Mary Clode Gallery from 23rd March to 23rd April 2024.

The story of Philip de László is as colourful and remarkable as his pictures. Born to a humble family in Budapest in 1869, his rich and revealing portraits were soon winning accolades and awards across Europe. He married Lucy Guinness of the distinguished banking branch of the brewing family, moved to London, was knighted by King Edward VII and ennobled by Emperor Franz Josef (in his role as King of Hungary), and in 1914 became a British citizen – although that did not prevent him from being interned for a year during the First World War.

By the time of his death in 1937, de László was recognised as one of the world’s foremost portrait painters, an artist who was able to depict any sitter, from society beauties to monarchs, scientists to soldiers, with brilliance and verve, and who could bestow a touch of glamour and elegance on even the most modest of subjects. His works reflected an age in which the unequivocal display of success, luxury and fortune was able to be less ambiguously expressed than it is today, while his art represented the climax of a tradition of outstanding portraiture stretching back to Sargent, Lawrence, Gainsborough and Van Dyck.

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PublisherThe de László Archive Trust
AuthorKatherine Field, Sandra de László and Geoffrey Munn
CollectionGainsborough's House