Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Imagined Lives: Portraits of Unknown People

Yesterday, my Canadian pal Heather was in town on a layover before embarking for a whirlwind month in Spain and Morocco. I'm feeling pretty excited about my own current adventure, but I must say, I'm jealous. We did some London sights and she was gracious enough to accompany me on some general life organization missions re: flat leases and enjoying the cheap Turkish cuisine of my new neighborhood. 

We also swung by the National Portrait Gallery so she could pre-purchase her ticket to the amazing Lucien Freud portrait exhibit. While we were there, I was taken with the idea of one of their projects, Imagined Lives. It's really right up my alley. Fourteen un-identified and formerly mis-identified portraits with fictional backstories cooked up by some of Britain's finest authors including Julian Fellowes, Joanna Trollope, Alexander McCall Smith & John Banville

Incidentally, a lot of the portraits are of Scots. One was believed to be of Mary Stuart (later disproved) and one of Lady Arabella Stuart

Anyhow, you can purchase the collection of stories surrounding the mysterious portraits in the gallery's gift shop or online. Check it out. They're even welcoming visitor's own imaginings as part of a story competition. You can send in your stories to the Gallery and they've posted one winner per month in the gallery. It's going on until July. Perhaps if I weren't in the middle of one of the busiest times of my life, I'd be tempted to send something in. You know I love to imagine the lives of others. 

If you're interested in submitting, send your 300 word story to 
Imagined Lives Story Competition
Marketing Dept.
National Portrait Gallery
St Martin's Place
London WC2H OHE


  1. Enjoyed your piece. A lovely display of works. I blogged on it here too


  2. Thanks for reading! I checked out your post too :)

  3. Nice post..
    Thanks for sharing

  4. Great post!! very informative.
    Thank you very much for such a lovely and informative post.


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