The Duchess of Cambridge will have a newly commissioned official portrait hanging in the National Portrait Gallery sometime in 2013, a source has revealed. Since becoming patron to the National Portrait Gallery, in central London rumours and several names including David Hockney, Jemma Phipps, Jenny Saville and Aleah Chapin, the 2012 BP Portrait Award winner have been banded around. However It is now thought that the commission will go the the Welsh Artist Nicola Jane Philipps. The artist is best known for her double portrait of Harry and William which was commissioned by the NPG in 2010. (see below)
Nicky Phillips comes from a family of artists. Her maternal grandmother, paternal grandfather and sister were all artistic. While she was growing up, the family’s home was part of the Graham Sutherland Gallery. It was perhaps inevitable that Nicky would enjoy a successful career as a painter. Nicky was commissioned in 2002 to paint a large composition of author Ken Follett surrounded by characters from his novels. In between portrait commissions, Nicky has had six extremely well received Still Life and Landscape exhibitions. The 1997 Solo at The Malcolm Innes Gallery was the most successful contemporary exhibition in the gallery’s twenty-five year history. A later solo exhibition of Still life and Landscapes at the Arndean Gallery, Cork Street, opened to popular acclaim with over thirty paintings selling in the first hour. In 2005 Nicky was one of two portrait painters whose paintings were chosen to hang at the BP Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery and the Garrick Milne Exhibition at Christie’s. When asked about the possibility of painting the Duchess of Cambridge, Phillip’s commented; “Beautiful people are always more difficult to paint. “With symmetrical faces, there’s nothing to hang the portrait on. It’s very unlikely that you’ll ever do them enough justice.”
It is thought that Prince Charles has approved the commission to paint Kate. It was reported last spring that Kate had been sitting for Philipps, at her studio in South Kensington. A Clarence House spokesman says: “We have private commissions happening from time to time, but we do not comment on them.” The art loving duchess, who studied history of art at St Andrew’s University, is believed to have been spending time in the last few weeks posing for the painting’s final finishing touches. The Duchess of Cambridge’s Office has declined to comment.