BP Travel Award 2010

Press Release

24 June 2010

BP TRAVEL AWARD WINNER 2009: ISOBEL PEACHEY
Exhibited as part of the BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2010
24 June - 19 September 2009
Wolfson Gallery
Admission Free

Portraits from major historical re-enactments in Switzerland and Belgium will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery as part of this year's BP Portrait Award exhibition. The portraits are by Isobel Peachey winner of the BP Travel Award 2009. Peachey won a £5000 bursary to travel and paint the re-enactments following her winning proposal to record ‘the transformation that participants undergo in living outside of their own time, taking on the living conditions, trade and military practices of the era they are portraying. I have selected two opportunities to paint people from all walks of life, men, women and children who have a passion for the past and all its artefacts'.

Jonas, medieval knight, Company of Saynt George by Isobel Peachey, 2010. Oil on canvas - © Isobel Peachey

Jonas, medieval knight, Company of Saynt George
by Isobel Peachey, 2010.
© Isobel Peachey

Drummers: Light infantry Imperial Guard and Sapper, Grenadiers of the Guard, re-enactment of the Battle of Hoogstraten, 2010 - © Isobel Peachey

Drummers: Light infantry Imperial Guard and Sapper,
Grenadiers of the Guard, re-enactment of the Battle of Hoogstraten, 2010

On display will be a series of sketches, oil paintings and photographs made by Peachey at two historical re-enactments. The first re-enactment she attended was organised by the Company of Saynt George in June 2009, who occupied the 13th Century Gruyeres Castle in Switzerland for a weekend. The second was in September 2009, a Napoleonic camp at Oostmalle, Belgium, where the ‘Forgotten Battle' of Hoogstraten was re-enacted.

Jacques, Napoleonic encampment by Isobel Peachey, 2010. Pencil on paper

Jacques, Napoleonic encampment
by Isobel Peachey, 2010
© Isobel Peachey

Peachey says, ‘One of the participants of the Company of Saynt George, explained that, for some, re-enactment was a form of escapism from the 21st century and in order to maintain the illusion they might be reluctant to divulge their modern-day occupations. The most striking aspect of the event was the breadth and depth of historic, social, cultural and military knowledge that each person brought to their individual roles. They carried with them and related with enthusiasm their own stories, personalities, trades, skills and disciplines, all of which fitted firmly within a comprehensive medieval backdrop.'

The second en-enactment in Belgium was even more impressive. She says, ‘500 enthusiasts had set up their regimental camps in fields and woods a few miles east of Antwerp. Five minutes' walk away, an arena and ‘battlefield theatre' had been set up for the grand re-enactment. On Friday afternoon my first encounter with the participants was with the 95th Rifles of the Second Battalion, ‘Sharpe's' regiment, made up of Dave, Andy, Dennis and Blakey. They were in costume, brewing tea and cooking dinner around their camp fire. Later Dave showed me the workings of the flintlock rifle and how to prepare gunpowder cartouches, but without the shot, for obvious reasons!'

Re-enactment of the Battle of Hoogstraten - © Isobel Peachey

Re-enactment of the Battle of Hoogstraten
© Isobel Peachey

‘Each long weekend ended with an exchange of email addresses, invitations to future
re-enactments and promises to keep in touch. Tents were dismantled, straw bedding turned out and clothing metamorphosed from formal to casual 21st-century. ‘Strangers' unrecognisable in their civvies would address me warmly. It was hard to imagine that the people I met and got to know so well would have their own modern identity. Hats, helmets and headdresses were abandoned, halberds, rifles and cannons exchanged for car keys and phones. Saying our farewells, I left them to their long journeys home to warm beds and showers.'

Each year exhibitors in the BP Portrait Award exhibition are invited to submit a proposal for the BP Travel Award. The aim of the award is to give an artist the opportunity to experience working in a different environment, in Britain or abroad, on a project related to portraiture. The artist's work is then shown as part of the following year's BP Portrait Award exhibition and tour.

The BP Portrait Award, now in its 31st year at the National Portrait Gallery and 21st year of sponsorship by BP, is a highly successful annual event aimed at encouraging artists to focus upon, and develop, the theme of painted portraiture within their work.

The BP Travel Award 2009 was judged by;

  • Sarah Howgate, Contemporary Curator, National Portrait Gallery, London
  • Liz Rideal, Art Resource Developer, National Portrait Gallery, London
  • Des Violaris, Director, UK Arts and Culture, BP
Thomas, Gendarme of the French Imperial Gendarmerie, Napoleonic encampment by Isobel Peachey, 2010 - © Isobel Peachey

Thomas, Gendarme of the French Imperial Gendarmerie, Napoleonic encampment
by Isobel Peachey, 2010
© Isobel Peachey

EXHIBITION

The BP Portrait Award 2010 and Travel Award 2009, National Portrait Gallery, London, 24 June - 19 September 2010.

EXHIBITION TOUR

The exhibition will run from 24 June to 19 September 2010 at the National Portrait Gallery and subsequently in 2010-11 will tour to Usher Gallery, Lincoln, and Aberdeen Art Gallery.

PUBLICATION

A fully-illustrated book accompanies the exhibition and features an introductory essay by Rose Tremain, the author of the Orange Prize winning The Road Home and whose new novel Trespass has just been published. The BP Portrait Award 2010 book will be published on 23 June 2010, and will include over 58 colour illustrations, price £8.50 (pbk).

FAMILY TRAIL

The National Portrait Gallery has appointed picture book illustrator Tim Hopgood to produce drawings for special exhibition labels and a free family trail which will offer a range of activities from drawings to matching games. Tim's book Wow! Said The Owl is out in paperback in June, published by Macmillan Children's Books, priced £5.99.

BP PORTRAIT AWARD 2010 - OVERALL FIGURES

  • Total number of entrants 2, 177
  • UK Entries 1, 496
  • International Entries 681

BP PORTRAIT AWARD 2010 - EXHIBITION FIGURES (58 SELECTED FROM TOTAL ENTRY)

  • Exhibition entrants 41 or over 28
  • Exhibition entrants 30 and under 6
  • Exhibition entrants 31 - 40 years 24
  • International artists 15
  • Countries represented by artists in Exhibition (other than UK):

United States (2); Switzerland (1); France (1); Spain (3); Netherlands (2); Italy (2); Mexico (1); Czech Republic (1); Canada (1); South Africa (1)

National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London, WC2H 0HE

Opening hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday: 10am - 6pm (Gallery closure commences at 5.50pm) Late Opening: Thursday, Friday: 10am - 9pm (Gallery closure commences at 8.50pm) Recorded information: 020 7312 2463 General information: 020 7306 0055 Website: www.npg.org.uk Underground: Leicester Square/Charing Cross

For further press information please contact:

Neil Evans Press Office, National Portrait Gallery

Tel 020 7 312 2452 (not for publication) Email nevans@npg.org.uk

Press images: www.npg.org.uk/press


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