The National Portrait Gallery's painting of it's patron was commissioned with the support of Sir Hugh Leggatt, in memory of Sir Denis Mahon, through the Art Fund. Kate was involved in the selection process, from which artist Paul Emsley, the 2007 winner of the Gallery's BP Portrait Award competition, was chosen by Director Sandy Nairne to paint her official portrait. The identity of the artist was kept under wraps with the media speculating Nicky Philips was the artist chosen.
Paul Emsley is incredibly talented and was a splendid choice. Below we look at his portrait of Nelson Mandela.
Kate attended two sittings for the portrait in May 2012 and June 2012 at the artist's studio and Kensington Palace. The Duchess wore a bottle-green pussybow blouse and her sapphire and diamond earrings (thought to have been Princess Diana's) for the portrait. Speaking about the portrait Mr Emsley said:
'The Duchess explained that she would like to be portrayed naturally - her natural self - as opposed to her official self. She struck me as an enormously open and generous and a very warm person. After initially feeling it would be an unsmiling portrait I think it was the right choice in the end to have her smiling - that is really who she is'.
Emsley made use of a series of photographs produced during the sittings. Following three and a half months painting the portrait was presented to the Gallery's Trustees at their November 2012 meeting. You can watch a video here of the artist discussing painting Kate. The video includes a look at the photographs he used.
One of the photographs Paul Emsley took of Kate (with thanks to My Small Obsessions). I love this shot, Kate looks incredibly pretty.
One can purchase a Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge Postcard at the NPG's online shop for £0.70 or a set of six for £3.50.
|National Portrait Gallery|
William and Kate arrived at the National Portrait Gallery this morning to view the portrait and the Duchess was reportedly thrilled with the results "I thought it was brilliant, Amazing, Absolutely brilliant". William described the portrait of his wife as "beautiful".
It was an unexpected surprise to see the couple this morning. Kate looked well, I do hope she is continuing to recover from hyperemesis gravidarum. Wednesday night the couple attended Cirque Du Soleil's KOOZA at the Royal Albert Hall with the Middleton family and friends to celebrate Kate's birthday and seeing the portrait was no doubt a late birthday treat for the Duchess. After the portrait unveiling there was a private breakfast reception attended by the Middleton family.
William and Kate chatted with Paul Emsley inside the gallery.
Kate wore her Whistles Sofie Rae Dress. The €105 burgundy pure silk dress has a deep v-neckline and a floating midi skirt. The dress was also worn by Downton Abbey actress Jessica Brown-Findlay. Kate teamed the dress with a black belt.
Kate has worn the dress a number of times before most recently during her visit to Newcastle where she wore the burgundy dress underneath her aubergine coat.
The Duchess accessorised with her Asprey Pendant and Kiki McDonough green amethyst gold and diamond earrings. Kate also carried a black suede clutch and wore her Episode 'Angel' black pumps.
Kate's portrait will be on display from 2.30 pm this afternoon until September. Well worth a viewing if any of you happen to be in London. I quite like the fact Kate opted for a natural portrait despite the fact I would have loved to have seen her wearing a tiara or perhaps her wedding dress? Dark backgrounds are a signature of Paul Emsley's which worked well in terms of capturing the Duchess in the manner she requested but the general consensus seems to be it made her look older and didn't quite capture her sparkle and vitality?
|Sky's Paul Harrison|
What do you all think of Kate's first portrait?