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Portrait Mode

Mon – Fri, 10am – 5pm; Sat 10am – 4pm

South Shields Museum & Art Gallery

Portrait paintings provide a unique insight into a person. Photographs capture a likeness, a moment and a sense of character and emotion that can be deeply engaging. But a portrait painting transcends the photograph’s reflection of the world, presenting an expressive interpretation, channelled more freely through the painter’s creativity and artistic skills.

Composition, line, colour, tone, medium, style, pose and expression all combine to connect the viewer with the subject, often in a more intense and immediate way. They can also often speak to us about the character and personality of the painter.

This collection of portraits has been displayed to celebrate the reopening of the National Portrait Gallery. South Shields Museum & Art Gallery collection includes a number of portraits. Some are on permanent display in the galleries downstairs, including paintings of William Wouldhave, who played a key role in the invention of the lifeboat, and Alderman John Clay, the First Mayor of South Shields Borough Corporation. Others have been specially selected and displayed here as part of the national and international Portrait Mode initiative.