Kate Middleton has had her portrait painted and will present it to Prince William later this month, as a special gift to celebrate his 30th birthday. A ‘Clarence House’ spokesman revealed “The commissioning of the Duchess of Cambridge’s first official portrait is currently under way through the National Portrait Gallery,” The NPG is one of the organisations chosen by the Duchess of Cambridge for official patronage. The commissioning of an official portrait is considered a step towards taking on her full role as the wife to the second in line to the throne of England”. It is a perfect way for her to make a mark, showing the public her brand of taste and style.
Last March speculation about who would actually be chosen to paint The Duchess of Cambridge’s first Royal portrait was rife. Since becoming patron to the National Portrait Gallery, in central London rumours and several names including David Hockney,Tracey Emin and Julian Opie were whispered. It was later confirmed that the commission would 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.
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.” We will now have to wait until the 21 June for the official unveiling.