Iris Murdoch

1 portrait

Iris Murdoch, by Tom Phillips, 1986 - NPG 5944(4) - © DACS / Tom Phillips

© DACS / Tom Phillips

Iris Murdoch

by Tom Phillips
conté, 1986
54 1/2 in. x 40 in. (1384 mm x 1016 mm)
Purchased, 1987
Primary Collection
NPG 5944(4)


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Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Tom Phillips (1937-), Artist. Artist of 22 portraits, Sitter in 6 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Iris Murdoch was already a lecturer in philosophy and the author of Sartre, Romantic Rationalist (1953) by the time her first novel, Under the Net, was published in 1954. Later works include The Bell (1958), A Severed Head (1961), The Sea, The Sea (Booker Prize, 1978) and The Good Apprentice (1986). This drawing is one of four large-scale studies of the sitter made by the artist in connection with the portrait of Murdoch commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery. They were done by Phillips from memory when, half-way through the oil painting, he found himself losing his original impression of the writer as a luminous presence. The drawings are named after the four elements; this one is 'Fire'.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG 5921: Iris Murdoch (finished portrait)

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Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

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