First Prize

Breech! by Benjamin Sullivan, January 2017 © Benjamin Sullivan

Breech!
by Benjamin Sullivan, January 2017
Oil on canvas
820 x 400mm

First Prize: £30,000

At the judges’ discretion the winner will also receive a commission worth £5,000 to be agreed between the National Portrait Gallery and the artist.

Grimsby-born, Benjamin Sullivan, who lives in Suffolk, gained a BA (Hons) in Drawing and Painting from Edinburgh College of Art. Benjamin’s work has been seen regularly in the Royal Society of Portrait Painters exhibition and he has previously been selected twelve times for the BP Portrait Award in 2002 and between 2006 and 2016 when his portrait Hugo was awarded third prize. His portrait of the cosmologist and astrophysicist Professor Martin Rees was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery in 2008.

Breech! depicts the artist’s wife Virginia breastfeeding their eight-month-old daughter Edith, at a time when Sullivan says ‘a sense of calm descended after the usual period of disarrangement that new parents face.’ The artist wanted to celebrate the love that had come into their lives and reflect on the worrisome time the couple faced during Edith’s birth. The painting was made over four to five weeks in the artist’s studio when Edith’s cooperation was forthcoming.

The judges appreciated the tenderness and intimacy of Sullivan's composition, evoking Madonna and Child paintings through the ages and the depth of the maternal bond.


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Prize Winners

FIRST PRIZE
Breech!

by Benjamin Sullivan, January 2017

SECOND PRIZE
Double Portrait

by Thomas Ehretsmann, November 2016

YOUNG ARTIST AWARD
Gabi

by Henry Christian-Slane, 2017

THIRD PRIZE
Emma

by Antony Williams, March 2016

TRAVEL AWARD 2017
Jack

by Casper White, 2017