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Hugh Douglas Hamilton (1740-1808), ‘Cupid and Psyche in the nuptial bower’, c.1792-93. Photo © National Gallery of Ireland

DUBLIN.- The National Gallery of Ireland presents today Hugh Douglas Hamilton (1740-1808): A Life in Pictures, on view through February 15, 2009. Born in Dublin in 1740, Hugh Douglas Hamilton is acknowledged as one of the most accomplished portraitists of his generation. His exquisitely delicate portrait ovals in pastel made his name in Dublin. Hamilton later moved to London where the fashionable set flocked to have their likeness recorded by the gregarious young artist. Being ambitious, Hamilton travelled to Italy where he made portraits of wealthy English and Irish travellers on their obligatory ‘grand tour’. During his years in Italy he cultivated lasting friendships with prominent artists in Rome including the sculptor Antonio Canova. It was during this period in Italy that Hamilton began to paint in oils and his work became bolder in style and scale. This exhibition celebrates his long and varied career with works drawn from the Gallery’s collection together with loans from public and private collections, featuring full length portraits, magnificent allegorical paintings, albums, prints, and his trademark oval pastel portraits.