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Response to Review no. 547

I would like to thank Dr di Bello for her careful and interested reading of my book. I am gratified that she found the book, and its engagement with different disciplinary practices, stimulating. I was particularly interested in Dr di Bello’s observation that the chapter on visitors to the Gallery was the ‘most interesting and least satisfying’ because of the obvious scope for development of this aspect of the study. I agree that this is an area of research that will repay further effort, particularly because the sources for developing empirically-based accounts of nineteenth-century museum visitors are so limited. I think Dr di Bello’s suggestion that print publications and photography might provide a context through which to develop an account of audience responses is an intriguing one. While I had consulted these kinds of sources in relation to the production of the collection, I had not thought to consider them as a source for understanding the reception of the Portrait Gallery. I do agree, though, that they could be revealing, perhaps especially the innumerable collections of photographs of eminent contemporaries which may or may not have imitated the Gallery’s displays. I look forward to reading and reflecting further on this problem.