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Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

Part of UK in Austria

19th October 2018 Vienna, Austria

Portugal, Britain and Vorarlberg: European Connections

What brings together Portuguese painter Vieira Portuense (1765-1805); Swiss painter Angelika Kauffmann (1741-1807); and English painter Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830)?

More than you might think.

The connections between the three illustrate the close connections between artists in the Europe of the 18th and 19th centuries.

They are also a reminder that such connections continue to this day.

I was alerted to these connections when I recently visited the excellent Angelika Kauffmann Museum in Vorarlberg, in the west of Austria. Angelika Kauffmann (known as Angelica Kauffman in the UK) was born in Switzerland but travelled widely, including becoming a leading artist in Great Britain from 1766 to 1781. There she became, in 1768, one of two women co-founders of the Royal Academy.

Francisco Vieira, known as Vieira Portuense, was a Portuguese painter who travelled in Italy, Germany, Austria and England before returning to Portugal in 1800. He met Kauffmann and is believed to have been influenced by her.  Around 1796, Kauffman began a portrait of Vieira, which for some reason was never finished.  You can see it here:

Although Angelika Kauffmann was born 24 years earlier than Vieira, she died two years after him in 1807 aged 66.  Vieira had died in 1805 aged 39.

Sir Thomas Lawrence, meanwhile, was a leading English portrait painter. He was born in 1769, several years after Kauffman moved to London, and would have been a teenager when she moved from London back to Rome. Lawrence became a member of the Royal Academy in 1794 and became its president in 1820.

Famous for his slow work, in 1813 Lawrence painted a portrait of Anne Lucy Grenville, Lady Nugent, which hangs in the residence in Vienna:

The similarity between the two paintings, produced 17 years apart in opposite corners of Europe, is striking.

Such connections continue to this day: on 31 October, the Royal Academy in London will host a major show of works by Klimt and Schiele.  And in Vorarlberg on 19 October, I look forward to attending the opening of an exhibition by British artist Tacita Dean, a selection of whose stunning works I saw recently on display at – the Royal Academy in London.

I would be fascinated to hear of whether any readers are aware of any contacts between Lawrence and Kauffmann, other than their mutual membership of the Royal Academy – or indeed, of any links between Lawrence and Vieira.

1 comment on “Portugal, Britain and Vorarlberg: European Connections

  1. Very interesting! Didn‘t even know that Angelika Kaufmann was co-founder of the Royal Academy. Love Vieira’s portrait by her.

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About Leigh Turner

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of…

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of the UN and other organisations; stories here will reflect that.

About me: I arrived in Vienna in August 2016 for my second posting in this wonderful city, having first served here in the mid-1980s. My previous job was as HM Consul-General and Director-General for Trade and Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and South Caucasus based in Istanbul.

Further back: I grew up in Nigeria, Exeter, Lesotho, Swaziland and Manchester before attending Cambridge University 1976-79. I worked in several government departments before joining the Foreign Office in 1983.

Keen to go to Africa and South America, I’ve had postings in Vienna (twice), Moscow, Bonn, Berlin, Kyiv and Istanbul, plus jobs in London ranging from the EU Budget to the British Overseas Territories.

2002-6 I was lucky enough to spend four years in Berlin running the house, looking after the children (born 1992 and 1994) and doing some writing and journalism.

To return to Vienna as ambassador is a privilege and a pleasure. I hope this blog reflects that.