Object Image

Portrait of Charles William Lambton ('The Red Boy')

This portrait of Charles William Lambton - aged six or seven - was commissioned by the boy's father John George Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham, a Whig politician and MP for County Durham. Popularly known as The Red Boy, it remained in the Lambton family until it was acquired by the National Gallery in 2021. It is acknowledged as one of Thomas Lawrence's masterpieces and, a sign of the image's enduring popularity, it was the first painting to be reproduced on a British postage stamp in 1967.

Sitting on a promontory overlooking a moonlit sea, Lawrence portrays Lambton as a child wanderer, lost in contemplation of the sublime power of nature. The flowers opening next to him symbolise his young age. ...

Oil on canvas
140.5 x 110.6cm
Image and text © The National Gallery, London, 2023

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