Top 10 Paintings at the National Portrait Gallery London

The National Portrait Gallery is a perpetual bridesmaid – the other national gallery in the shadow of The National Gallery, tucked away behind it on St Martin’s Place while the National Gallery gets top billing on Trafalgar Square. If galleries had feelings, I imagine it would be pretty brassed off.

The remit of the National Portrait Gallery isn’t to display the best art. It’s to display the history of the nation in portraits. So while a great picture of some anonymous fisherman might not make the cut, a really bad portrait of Nelson or Keats might – if that was the only picture we had. Fortunately, most illustrious people managed to get painted by quite good painters. And of course some great painters provided us with self-portraits too.

Here are my top 10 highlights:

Let’s start at the beginning, with the earliest painting in the collection – a superbly characterised portrait of Henry VII dating from 1505. His shrewd eyes sum you up as you watch, his mouth is tight and you can almost feel the veins in his cheek pulsing – but it’s the grasping hands resting on the frame of the picture that really make it work, as if he’s drumming his fingers with impatience.
John Donne had himself painted about 1595, and what a lovely poseur he is – slouch hat, moody look, arms folded, all fine lace and elegant long fingers. There’s something a bit Rolling Stones about him – but he does it so well, you don’t feel any affectation. A bit like his poetry really.
Hogarth, by Hogarth. Unlike other painters who create drama in their self-portraits (for instance Sir Joshua Reynolds’ picture of himself looking out, shading his eyes with his hand, as if painting a landscape), Hogarth shows himself warts and all at his daily work of painting – shaven head, stubby little legs and the preparatory chalk drawing still visible on the easel. But it’s what you don’t see that is most amusing about this picture – the dog peeing up against a pile of Old Masters, which he had second thoughts about and painted over.
Mary Wollstonecraft, author of The Rights of Woman and pioneering feminist, was painted by John Opie with great restraint. Her simple cotton dress and the seriousness of her face, reflect the values of the Enlightenment – Rousseau-esque concentration on basic humanity, eschewing the display of wealth or social status. A powerful portrait of an important thinker.
By contrast, the portrait of Jane Austen is almost comically bad, and even her relatives apparently were not convinced by it. But you feel so close to the real Jane – the unfinished portrait was sketched by her sister Cassandra, and with its hesitant pencil lines, it is almost defiantly home-made, in a gallery stuffed with pretentious posed portraits.
An anamorphic portrait of Edward VI, by William Scrots (what a name!). Like Magic Eye, it will either frustrate you unendingly or fill you with delight. It looks like a mixture of Damien Hirst and Salvador Dali at first sight – you have to look at it from the right hand side and adjust your height till it is just at the right perspective, and then it springs out at you.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel, our greatest engineer, is photographed against the background of huge chains, his hands in his pockets and a cigar in his mouth. His attitude is one of self-satisfaction and even smugness, but all his clothes are rumpled.
Another smoking portrait – the great actor Sir Richard Burton, taken from below, his face in shadow, his hand obscuring his mouth, the smoke from his cigarette drifting upwards, his hair unruly – all the darkness and rebelliousness that made him great seems to be caught in this photograph by Daniel Farson.
Coming right up to date, Chris Garnham’s double portrait of Gilbert and George neatly pays homage to their work, creating two little shrines, but also suggesting the forms of bird-cages or bakelite radios. I love the quirky humour and deadpan faces.
And finally a little bit of the macabre. The anonymous circular portrait of Sir Thomas Wyatt looks as if it derives from the Italian Renaissance tradition of portrait busts or portrait medals – a fine profile, cut off at the neck, on a stippled blue background, very formal and at the same time well observed. But it was painted some time after his death – and indeed he was cut off at the neck, on Tower Hill, in 1554.

The National Portrait Gallery is never perhaps going to have the pull of the place next door with its Old Masters and impressionist paintings. But it has its own delights, so I hope this has inspired a few readers to go and take a look.

Planning a One-Day Art Gallery Event

Most artists hang their art in galleries for a period of time. However, there may be a time that you need to plan a gallery for one day only. You may compare this type of exhibition to setting up and tearing down for an arts & craft show, but you may want it to be in high-end, professional venue, such as an arts council or organization. Because a one-day gallery is unusual, it’s important to plan extensively for effective execution of your event.

1. Think about the theme of your collection- Why do you want to have a gallery? What is your motivation or inspiration behind it? What will the theme of your gallery be? And why have it for one day? Examples of one-day galleries could be to raise money for charity, take part in an organizations art event, or simply to gain some experience.

2. Contact a venue- decide where you want to hold your gallery and what kind of venue you’re seeking. Think about your market, or demographic, when choosing a venue. If your art is very modern and abstract, a college campus may be an option. If your art is more realistic- landscapes, portraits, still life- a traditional art gallery may be an option. Think about the type of people who typically go to the venue, then think about what type of people your art attracts.

3. Book the venue- Often times, venues fill up months in advance. Think about what date you would like to hold your gallery. Visit the space you’re looking at displaying your work, take measurements, look at what type of hanging devices the venue utilizes, draw a diagram and ask questions.

4. Develop a timeline and stick to it- Take a look at your calendar and develop deadlines. Space out your deadlines so you’re not completely overwhelmed. Have a visual schedule will help you manage your time while in the planning process.

5. Market- Depending on when your one-day gallery will be, you can market right away, or closer to the event. You want to market far enough in advance that it gives people time to schedule around your event, but not so far from the event that people forget.

6. Plan- Numbers 4 and 5 can go hand-in-hand. It’s important to plan preliminary details of the event so that you can effectively market it, but there is much more to planning a one-day gallery than just that. Remember those diagrams in number 3? Take a look at them. Figure out how many pieces you will need to have in order to fill the space you booked. Are you going to have a reception table with a guest book, coffee/wine, handouts, etc? Other items to think about are:

• Hardware on the back of your frames
• Labels for your pieces and pricing information
• Invitation list
• “About the Artist” write-up
• Having a guestbook

7. Work on your Collection- While there are tons of nuts and bolts to plan related to finances, business and marketing, don’t forget to work on your collection, because this is the most important part of the event.

8. Contact PR Avenues- Since it’s a one-day event, you probably want a decent turnout. It’s up to you to make that happen. Send out a press release to local newspapers, radio stations and magazines. Writing a press release can be daunting, so do some research and look for templates to help you along if you’re not used to writing.

9. Create a Checklist- Write down everything you need to take with you the day of the event, down to the smallest detail like pens, notepads and glue dots. Don’t leave anything out. Use the checklist when you pack the night before the event.

10. Dress the Part- Plan to look like you’ve got your act together, even if you don’t. Having a one-day gallery event can be stressful and frustrating, but rewarding. It’s like being in a wedding- many things can go wrong, but as long as the bride, groom and officiant are there, everything else can go by the wayside. While you want everything to go off without a hitch, as long as you and your art are there and look presentable, that is what is important.

11. Reap the Benefits- After all your hard work, it’s time to stand back, socialize and look at your awesomely professional one-day gallery. People will be amazed that you pulled it all together in one day when it looks as though it should be hanging for weeks.

Don’t forget to take pictures of your gallery for your Facebook page and website. It’s important to document your events.

How to Act, Dress and Enjoy Art Gallery Openings

Things You’ll Need:
Transportation
Good mood
Nice outfit

Step 1- Dress nicely. Casual chic or business attire are usually the best choices. Only artists have the liberty to go a little more crazy. You are not an artist, and if you are, it is not your show.

Step 2- Enjoy and browse the artwork with minimal commentary. Compliment without over doing it. Leave any negative opinions for after leaving the exhibit.

Step 3- Introduce yourself to the gallery owner and compliment the gallery space or the quality of the artwork shown. Add yourself to the guest book, if you want to be included in their mailing list. If you already know the owner, greet him/her.

Step 4- Read the biographical information about the artist beforehand, to get suggestions of what to say. For instance, if the artist is from out of town, welcome him/her to your city, etc. Introduce yourself to the artist and offer him/her a nice compliment about the work. Keep in mind that most artists are very sensitive people.

Step 5- Enjoy yourself, have fun, introduce yourself to people. Smile, be positive and be courteous. Try not to block people’s view.

Tips & Warnings:
If considering drinking wine, please make sure your stomach is not completely empty. Galleries usually offer wine, water, and little or no food.

Do not touch the art, unless it is stated that you may do so, or you have permission from the artist. Do not drink too much wine. Do not talk too much. Do not comment on art pricing.

Mother of the Bride Dress Guide – How to Choose Your MOB Dress

Sure – the day may be all about the bride and her big dress, but as the mother of the bride or groom – you need to shine too. Here’s everything you need to know to ensure you look stylish and perfectly coiffed on the big day.

Getting Started

When it comes to selecting wedding day attire, the bride goes first. The moms need to start shopping as early as possible – but not until after the bride has selected her gown and the bridesmaids’ dresses. Once this has been done, the bride will discuss her preferences of lengths, colors and styles with her mother or both mothers. If you’re not happy with the style she suggests, let her know and work out a compromise. It is her day – but the moms have to be comfortable too.

Etiquette

Typically the mother-of-the-bride (MOB) selects her dress (taking cues from the bride), then politely consults with the mother-of-the-groom (MOG) as soon as possible to inform her of the style. The MOG should then select an ensemble that complements – not matches – that of the MOB. This custom is definitely not required, however. If the MOB is lagging and the MOG is anxious to get shopping, she can definitely take the initiative and consult with the MOG or the bride. Regardless – it’s important for everyone to be flexible and considerate.

Style Tips for the Moms

Color

Everyone has their own preferences, and any color can really be worn if the bride and moms agree on it. That said, most would advice against these hues:

White or Ivory – (don’t compete with the bride)

Black – (don’t appear as if in mourning)

Red – (don’t be too flashy)

You usually can’t go wrong with lavender, beige, silver, burgundy, blue and rose.

Matching the Bridesmaids?

There is no rule that says that mothers’ dresses should match or coordinate with the bridesmaids’ attire. You can either choose to stay within the same color family – yet different shade (i.e. maids are in seafoam green, you choose a deep emerald green), or feel free to mix and match as you see fit. Again – talk to the bride about her preferences.

FormalityWhile you have more room to maneuver in color – the formality of your gown should match the formality of the rest of the wedding party and the event. If it’s an evening wedding and the maids are in floor length ball gowns – it’s probably best to avoid a short hemline in a casual fabric – and vice versa.

Where to Shop

Most department stores and many specialty boutiques feature appropriate gowns that can also be worn again to another formal party. You can also jump start your search for mother of the bride dresses in this interactive online photo gallery. Shop with a trusted friend or relative, one whose judgment you can trust to help you choose the style and color that is best for you.

Improve Your Poor Credit Score and Secure Yourself a Loan

So you are thinking of getting some extra money to make some urgent home repairs, the porch door needs replacing, along with a new hot water system. Unfortunately you do not have the money in the bank, but neither do you have a secure porch door or any constant hot water.

Have you considered personal loans? A lot of people take out personal loans for this type of repair. Car repairs and even holidays are used by people with their newly acquired finances. Most people have heard that a poor credit score is not a good thing (However even those that have a poor financial history can still get loans). But how do you make a good rating?

One of thing major pieces of advice from experts, before you apply for finance it is best to get a credit report completed from a reputable source. This will give you an idea of the chance of getting your application approved. In the United States of America there are three levels of credit rating, basically the higher it is the better it is.

An excellent rating is above 760, a good rating would be between 700 and 759 and a poor rating would be between 640 to 699. if you are at the top end, 760 and above then there is no point in making your rating any better. However with other ratings it is worth trying to improve as it will help your chances of succeeding in the application.

There does seem to be a bit of a chicken and egg situation sometimes, you need finance but have a poor score,but to improve you need a lender to give you a chance. Well, luckily there are things that you and your family if you have one, can do to improve your rating.

Having a poor rating does not mean you have to be stuck with it, starting to pay the bills on time instead of late or not at all will start to get you on the right path. Some lenders will still give applicants loans even with a low score, but the total given will be lower than usually and the percentage rate will be considerably higher. So you will pay more over the period of the finance.

Families can help too. If a member of your family has a good rating then some credit card companies can add you to that family members credit card as an authorized user, this will help with any poor credit score. Also having a family member with a good rating co-sign the loan could help you get what you need.

Finding the correct lender for your score is a good way to make sure that you are getting what you deserve, if you have a high score you deserve some of the best deals on the market. Instead of going to your bank or card company you can go online and search for a matching company. Companies like this are a good place go to make sure you achieve the best deal.

What are a matching company and what do they do? You enter your details on their online program and your information will be fed to several of their approved lenders, in turn the lenders will then return to the matching company with a list of loans that they are able to offer.

Once the offers come back it is then up to the applicant to choose one and complete all the necessary paperwork. A check will then be received within a matter of days and your new boiler and door fitted soon after.

How to Find Your Perfect Loan With Poor Credit

Sometimes accidents happen and things break down and we all need help financially. If your current gas boiler stops working then a new gas boiler installed can cost a good couple of week’s salary and if the television is knocked over whilst the cat chases the dog around the TV room, then how do we find the money to get replacements?

Not all of us our lucky enough to have money in the bank, we live in a society where saving our hard earn money can be tricky, we all have mortgages, rents and utility bills to pay. If we do not have siblings or parents to go to when we find our self in that tight spot what can we turn to? Loans are a good option and can give you the finance you need fairly instantly.

The first thing to do is go online and visit a loans company. During the process of applying for credit the company will run your details though a program to achieve a Credit score, any bumps they find in the road in terms of poor score rating could hamper your chances of getting the money you require.

Why have I got a poor rating? There are many reasons why you might fall under the group of poor. The main reason is probably a late card payment, or even missing the payment altogether. Closely followed by an existing debt that you may have on credit cards, store cards or other cards. These will all show up in the overall score to ascertain if you can have the money.

Companies are fully aware that although some of us have a poor rating there are those that are trying to start again and look to the future. When you apply you have to give your personal information, bearing in mind that this information is important for the company to run the checks and will only be held by the company.

With this information they will look at any problems you may have had and also compare your current circumstances. For instance in the past you might have been on a lower paid wage and since then you have had a promotion and now earn twice as much as before. This will all be taken into account when running the scores.

A company that offer matching services, even though a poor credit score came up through the check, could still be able to offer you a variety of loans. They will pass your applications on to many different lenders to make sure that a deal can be found.

Choosing to go through a company like this will only show up as one application, not as lots of different ones which is a good thing for you and your rating.

Personal loans are known as unsecured, there is no collateral held against them but because of this they offer a higher percentage rate of payback. Credit scores can affect the percentage of the agreement given. The better the score, the lower the percentage rate.

We all want a quick decision when we apply for loans, but how quickly can I receive the money? If all of the relevant paper is filled in correctly, then you can have the money as quickly as the following business day. Which is good, as some emergency cannot wait for a week whilst a decision is made.

So if you need financial help, do not be put off that you might think you may have a poor credit history, approach a company that match loans and see how they can help you.

How You Should Process Your Short Term Loans

Borrowing money makes a decisive difference, especially when you are struggling through the times of financial emergencies. Small time loans like the Short Term Loans are one of the quick and convenient cash credit alternatives that you can and should consider to ameliorate your ongoing emergency financial crisis. These loans improve your credit score too, but again; you need to be a bit judgmental of other prerequisites and options.

Short Term Loans and the Credit Score – Understanding the Basic Scenario

Short term small loan applications usually show up in your credit report. If you had applied for these loans few months back, then your credit score reflects this option. Furthermore, all the repayments made towards the loan will highlight in your credit profile. Making the repayments on short term loans will show you in positive light before the lender. He will have trust, and you will enjoy peace of mind.

Short Term Loans Improve the Credit Score

Short term loans help to improve the credit rating. However, availing the loans is still a risky process, and you need to have an Argus-eye over it.

In general cases, the interest rates charged on these loans are considerably high. If you are confident of making the payments within lender’s designated time period, it will not cause any hindrance. But the longer you delay in paying-off the loans, the costlier these loans turn out. There comes a time when you might even repent your decision of having applied for cash advance for the sake of improving the credit score.

Instead of going for a short term loan to boost your credit rating, there are better ways to move the credit worthiness. What you have to do is to look for alternatives, rather than making a rash decision in an instant. Taking out a credit for the sake of credit is something that needs proper research and analysis too.

Having a good credit score is necessary, since it reflects your credibility as a borrower. A not so good credit score on the other has a negative impact, as it severely affects the flow of credit in the future.

Improving Your Credit Score: Placing the Sound Methodologies

Just because you are having a bad credit, it does not entirely mean the end of the road. You can still improve the credit score. Here are two legitimate points to look into:

  • Clearing outstanding debt by paying on time – Clearing your dues on time will maintain your credit score over a long period of time. If you are having outstanding debts, make sure to minimize them. This certainly helps to improve the rating.
  • Building a solid credit history – For first time borrowers, with no credit history, it is essential to build a good credit history. To increase the credibility, it becomes necessary to limit the expenses, and if you had availed loans and there are arrears, you must ensure to clear them. Paying off the debts within stipulated time frame is way to success.

Credit rating helps the borrowers to gain advantage and secure loans and debts. Good credit ratings help borrowers to borrow money. The methodologies you apply to improve your credit ratings will make huge difference in score records.

Applying for a Personal Loan With Subpar Credit – What to Know

Anyone that finds themselves with multiple balances on credit cards that have high interest may consider looking for a personal loan with bad credit. This allows them to transfer those balances and take advantage of a lower interest rate to pay off their cards. Sadly, many banks will turn them down due to their credit. Thankfully, there are ways to get a loan that will help them save money, even with that low credit score.

Whether due to financial issues, job loss, or just striving to build a good credit score as a first time user it is difficult to get a loan. The way credit reports work is always changing and there are many factors that affect a person’s credit. It’s important to stay in the know about how to build it, and what your options are. There are likely more options than they think. Here are some ways to apply for and get a personal loan with bad credit.

How to Get a Loan with Bad Credit

Having zero credit or poor credit is a major issue when looking to secure a loan, because that person is viewed as a high risk customer who may default. It’s important to accept that until the credit score is raised, one won’t be able to enjoy the standard lending guidelines offered by big banks.

For anyone that’s been turned down for a loan or who doesn’t want to pay monstrous rates, here are some options:

Consider a Home Equity Line of Credit

If there is enough equity in owned property, it’s possible to secure a tax-deductible, low-interest loan or line of credit that can be used in any way. The only downfall is that many don’t want to tap into their home equity as it puts the property in jeopardy if they can’t repay it. However, with a steady income and a bit of discipline then this can be paid off and is a less pricey option no matter what the credit score!

Try and Apply to Credit Unions

Credit unions are so much better than a regular bank. That’s because they are member-owned. Usually they are founded by people who have something in common whether it be living in the same area, or working in the same profession. They are nonprofit and have a sole purpose of helping members. They offer great customer service and low fees.

Borrow from a Friend

Consider what’s called P2P or peer-to-peer lending. There are even sites online that let a person borrow from someone directly rather than a bank. This form of lending is getting very popular and is quite simple. It’s a winning situation for both investors who want to earn interest and borrowers who enjoy paying lower rates. It’s the perfect solution when looking to apply for a personal loan with bad credit. Current rates with P2P lending are as low as 6%. That’s far lower than most credit cards.

Family Loans

If an online peer doesn’t pick up a loan request, there’s always a chance a family member might. However, it’s more than important to treat a loan from someone in the family just as a professional loan. It should be documented and recorded. A written agreement should show the interest rate, terms of repayment and collateral that’s going against the loan. It should also lay out all the actions to be taken if the borrower does not repay.

What About a Co-signer?

If one is searching for a personal loan with bad credit and they don’t have a family member or a friend that is available to offer the loan, maybe they would consider co-signing. This is when someone who trusts that the borrower can repay the debt would take a chance on them and be a back up to repay the loan should that person default.

Personal Loan and Its Different Advantages

A personal loan is an unsecured loan which is offered to a consumer for catering their various personal needs such as the renovation of a house, marriage, home appliances, buy vehicle amid others. This is offered after verifying one’s ability of paying especially the income source and also according to their credit history. A nominal processing fee will be charged and the sum as per a person’s paying ability will get credited to their account. In fact the loan payment is made via fixed installments which also includes interest and for fixed time periods. The icing on the cake is these days personal loans are a smart choice as one do not require going through a lot of formalities and tedious paperwork. Most of the financial institutions and banks offer personal loans today and the rate of interest is also quite reasonable.

Discover the different benefit

  • Available easily- to get a personal loan is no longer a challenging affair. It is offered by almost all financial institutions and banks at a reasonable rate of interest. Compared to other loans it is convenient and easy to get
  • No middleman or agent involved- for availing a personal loan one will not require taking the help of an agent or a middleman. This will avoid unnecessary expenses and delays. A person can approach the financial institution or bank for the purpose directly
  • Unsecured loan- this is indeed an unsecured loan. Here no collateral security is needed for availing the loan. In fact, all that is needed is one’s ability of paying back the money.
  • Less processing time- because it is accessible devoid of any guarantee or security the processing time needed to get this is naturally less compared to other loans
  • All purpose loans- in this form of loan it is not compulsory for a person in specifying the reason for which they will be using the money.
  • Minimum paperwork- to get a loan will not need any asset verification or other forms of certificates and proofs which include ample paperwork as none of one’s property is mortgaged
  • Offers and schemes- different financial institutions and banks keep announcing offers and special schemes on personal loans, especially for the professionals such as architects, doctors, chartered accountants and the like
  • Amount and tenure- these loans generally are provided varying from Rs 15000 to Rs 20 lakhs differing from one bank to another. The repayment can be made through EMIs

The bottom line is, rather than borrowing money from a credit card it is always better to choose a personal loan as the rate of interest is comparatively lower. So reap its utmost benefits.

Searching for a Personal Loan Just Got Simplified

Figuring where to get a loan with the best rates isn’t easy, but it’s still possible even after the credit crunch the United States has experienced in recent years. With a bit of research and persistence, it’s still possible to get a great personal loan. Many loans are still ridiculously high in spite of the Federal Reserve’s influence on rates which they’d hoped would trickle down to each and every loan type product.

It’s smart to know what determines interest rates in order to strike a better deal when wondering where to get a personal loan. A bit of research will help a person learn how to get the best rates on the following:

1. Mortgages

2. Lines of credit

3. Home equity loans

4. Auto loans

5. Credit cards

6. Student and personal loans

About Mortgages

There’s a lot that affects mortgage rates, and of course there are several different types of rates from fixed-rate to adjustable. Fixed-rate are always in relation to the current state of the economy. They are also subject to the expectations of the investor. They usually have long-term interest rates via treasury note as opposed to short-term personal loans that are regulated by The Fed.

ARMs or adjustable rate mortgages are affected by short-term rates. For those looking to find where to get personal loans at the best rates, they should prepare a portfolio that shows stable income, and a great credit score. A score of 740 or more is best. If they have a down payment that will also help, and cash reserves on top of that makes them a prime borrower.

Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t great rates for those who aren’t considered “perfect” borrowers. Making a larger down payment or borrowing less money will help get a personal loan, be it for a mortgage or other purpose, that’s a much lower rate.

Another way to reduce rates when searching for where to get personal loans is to pay an origination free up front, or even what are called discount points. This is simply a percentage of the loan amount that helps decrease the interest rate. Of course, this means one will pay more at closing if mortgage related.

How much these points lower the mortgage or rate of the loan depends on the market at the time of the loan. It’s smart to pay points because it reduces not only the interest for the total life of the loan but also lowers the monthly payment. Take into account how long the home will be owned to figure out if it’s a smart move. Most homeowners sell or refinance within 5 years of ownership, to give an idea.

Home Equity Line of Credit

Many prefer to take advantage of a home equity loan in lieu of trying to get a loan elsewhere. In this case, borrowers get money right away and in a lump sum. The loan is set at a fixed interest rate, which allows them to make the same payment every month for the entire loan term.

These type of personal loans are lines of credit that let the borrower take out money periodically when necessary. The interest rate can be different, depending on what is called the prime rate. The borrower may have the choice of making interest-only payments over a set period of time.

In any case, to get the best rate when looking for where to find personal loans, it’s best to be aware of one’s credit profile and secure a loan whenever interest rates are at their lowest.

Competitive rates and flexible terms are a click away, and you’ll have money from trusted lenders deposited directly into an account of your choosing. Applications are free, then fees and loans are up to the individual and the provider.