Sir Thomas Lawrence’s famous portrait of William Wilberforce will be exhibited in Hull at the Ferens Art Gallery as part of a major project launched by the National Portrait Gallery. The COMING HOME project sees the National Portrait Gallery lend 50 portraits of iconic individuals to places across the UK with which they are most closely associated.
William Wilberforce was born in 1759, the son of a Hull merchant. In 1780, Wilberforce was elected MP for Hull, and through tireless efforts, became the parliamentary spokesperson for the British campaign to abolish Transatlantic Slavery.
As Wilberforce’s portrait will journey home, an accompanying exhibition will look at the journey of his legacy. Starting with Wilberforce, his life in Hull and his pivotal role in the Abolition campaign, the exhibition will explore how his memory has been celebrated in the City and inspired anti-slavery campaigner Salim Charles Wilson in the 1900s. The exhibition also includes a 2007 commission for Hull by Jamaican artist Keith Piper to mark the national bicentenary of the abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
The portrait will be on display in the Ferens Art Gallery together with works from the Ferens, and Wilberforce House Museum permanent collections.
The Ferens has a magnificent collection of paintings and sculptures, including works by European Old Masters, portraiture, marine painting, and modern and contemporary British art. Highlights include masterpieces by Lorenzetti, Frans Hals, Antonio Canaletto, Frederick Leighton, Stanley Spencer, David Hockney, Helen Chadwick and Gillian Wearing. With a regular programme of events, guided tours and changing exhibitions, there’s always something new to explore. You can also enjoy refreshments in our popular cafe, Venue Hull.