George Frederic Watts was a early member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and his portrait of actress, producer and Socalite Lille Langtry was originally exhibited with the Society in 1892. Now part of the Watts Gallery collection, it is returning to the RP for this exhibition in the lead up to the Society exhibiting at the Watts Gallery early next year.
Langtry's beauty made her a popular actress in the 1880s and she became a theatre producer and manager. She is also famous for being the mistress of Edward VII.
Dr Cicely Robinson will discuss Watts, Langtry and women's changing roles and identity with Langtry's biographer Laura Beatty. They will consider questions around the way women are portrayed then and now, the male gaze, the changing nature of women in theatrical, fashion and celebrity circles, the issues currently being debated around the manipulation and abuse of women, the 'Me Too' campaign in Hollywood and the business of who is in control. How can Lillie be seen in this context? Was she in control of her image or was she exploited?