Talk | Liz Louis - The life and work of James Tassie

Our regular programme of talks has gone online whilst our galleries are currently closed.

Our speakers in lockdown have broadly responded to questions about who or what makes a hero and how these ideas have been represented by artists. National Galleries of Scotland Curator of Portraiture, Liz Louis has recorded a short talk at home considering James Tassie’s portrait medallions of ‘the great and the good’ of eighteenth-century society.

The National Galleries of Scotland hold the world’s largest collection of works by James Tassie (1735-99) and his nephew William Tassie (1777-1860). Born in Pollokshaws near Glasgow, Tassie set up his shop and studio in London in 1766. He produced exquisite replicas of antique gems and almost five hundred portrait medallions of his contemporaries. Portraits of the wife of a Glasgow West India merchant, an admiral from Dundee, and a particularly fashion-conscious sitter will all help give an insight into the age in which Tassie lived and worked.

The life and work of James Tassie

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James Tassie Christina Lawrie, Mrs Alexander Wilson, 1766 - 1803. Friend of Burns 1894
James Tassie Adam Duncan, 1st Viscount Duncan of Camperdown, 1731 - 1804. Admiral Unknown
By Liz Louis, Curator, Portraiture, National Galleries of Scotland