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Faces of Britain – Missing Portraits and the Gaps in British History

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  • In person: £5
  • Online only: Free

Thursday 2 February 2023
6.30pm – 8pm

Intelligence Squared and Harewood House have partnered for this in-person event to explore the power of portraiture in representing Britain’s complex history, with panelists Nicholas Cullinan, Moya Lothian-McLean and chaired by Yassmin Abdel-Magied.

The event coincides with the recent launch of Missing Portraits, a new series commissioned by David and Diane Lascelles to be part of the permanent collection at Harewood House, to depict people of Afro-Caribbean heritage with a connection to Harewood – the inaugural portrait being of Arthur France, founder of the Leeds West Indian Carnival.

The series is part of an effort to better reflect the history of Harewood, which was built on the vast fortune made by Henry Lascelles through the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Harewood acknowledges the troubled roots of its wealth, and seeks to address the historic lack of diversity within its vast art collection. This situation is not unique to Harewood, which since 1986 has been an educational charity. Whether it’s in the school curriculum or the collections of museums and galleries, the diversity and complexity of Britain’s colonial history is not fully reflected in our understanding of the past.

‘Although there is nothing we can do to change Harewood’s history and the source of the wealth that built it, we can be more open and inclusive in discussing it and therefore better able to represent the world we live in now.’
David Lascelles, Earl of Harewood

Panellists Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, and journalist Moya Lothian-McLean will explore questions such as: ‘why does portraiture matter?’, ‘what are the challenges in unearthing long buried stories that have been buried for so long?’, and ‘how do we move beyond token representation to something more meaningful?’. The event will be chaired by author Yassmin Adbel-Magied.

Join us for what will be a reflective and challenging conversation in the striking surroundings of Harewood’s Gallery.

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In partnership with Intelligence Squared

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