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Striking Photographs of Scottish Athletes...National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 Comes to Edinburgh

News Release

Friday 1 June 2012

Stunning open-air exhibition tour of large photographs of athletes and key London 2012 figures on view at The Mound Precinct, Edinburgh from Friday 1 June 2012

Edinburgh, Mound Precinct: 1 June - 8 July 2012
With thanks to National Galleries Scotland and The City of Edinburgh Council
Admission Free  

Made possible by BT 

Photographs of Scottish athletes – oarswoman Katherine Grainger and Team GB women’s Hockey players Emily Maguire and Laura Bartlett – will go on display in Edinburgh as part of a new outdoor exhibition of 30 portraits of key figures involved in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery, London, working in partnership with London 2012 partner BT, Road to 2012 opens at The Mound, Edinburgh on Friday 1 June 2012.

Katherine Grainger (b1975), Bisham Abbey, Marlow

© Bettina von Zwehl - National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 project

The printed panels on large specially-designed outdoor pods of highlights from the National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 project, the largest photographic commission in the London gallery’s history, and part of the Cultural Olympiad, can be seen at Edinburgh’s Mound Precinct from Friday 1 June until 8 July 2012.

Having won gold, with Anna Watkins, this weekend in the double sculls at the 2012 World Cup in Lucerne, Glasgow-born Katherine Grainger is Britain’s most successful oarswoman. She took up rowing at Edinburgh University in 1993 and competed internationally for the first time in 1997. In 2009 Grainger won silver in the women’s single sculls at the World Rowing Championships. At the finals of the first Rowing World Cup in 2010 she won gold in the double sculls with Watkins, and an hour later won a second gold in the quadruple sculls. Grainger is also working towards a doctorate studying homicide. With six world championship titles and three Olympic silver medals she is aiming for gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Glasgow-born Emily Maguire and Laura Bartlett are shown in a photograph by Anderson & Low of the GB women’s hockey team, currently ranked fourth in the world. Coming together solely to compete at the Olympic Games, London 2012’s women’s hockey squad brings together 29 players from England, Scotland and Wales, all of whom compete under their own flags in the intervening three years. Both Katherine Grainger and the Team GB women’s hockey players are photographed at National Sports Centre, Bisham Abbey.

Also included in the exhibition is a selection of work by Scottish-born photographer Finlay MacKay (b.1972) including dramatic photograph of double gold medallist at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, Eleanor Simmonds with her trainer Billy Pye, on the starting block at the Wales National Pool in Swansea, Phillips Idowu with his coach Aston Moore at Birmingham High Performance Centre, and the Taekwondo champion

Aaron Cook and his family photographed in action practising outside his Manchester home. Among his other portraits on display are Olympian gymnast Louis Smith, wheelchair racer David Weir, top triathlete brothers Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee and Paralympic Wheelchair Rugby players Mandip Sehmi and Andy Barrow.   

Finlay MacKay (b.1972) was born in Scotland and studied fine art photography at Glasgow School of Art (1992–96) working with the inspirational American photographer and teacher, Thomas Joshua Cooper.  After graduating, MacKay moved to London to work as a photographer’s assistant, spending three formative years with Elaine Constantine. MacKay’s portfolio includes sport and portraits as well as complex advertising productions that draw on graphic novels and the work of contemporary artists, such as the Scottish painter Peter Howson.

The exhibition, made possible by London 2012 partner BT, includes large-scale portraits of Jessica Ennis, Victoria Pendleton, Tom Daley, David Weir, Seb Coe and Danny Boyle. The exhibition was brought to Edinburgh with assistance from National Galleries Scotland and The City of Edinburgh Council.  

As well as photographs first seen at the National Portrait Gallery in exhibitions held there over the previous two summers, Road to 2012: Setting Out (2010) and Road to 2012: Changing Pace (2011), the touring exhibition also includes exciting new portraits by the photographers currently working on commissions for this summer’s final London exhibition Road to 2012: Aiming High. The open-air exhibition continues its British tour to Birmingham on 13 July 2012.

These include Anderson & Low’s portrait of gymnast Beth Tweddle with team colleagues and Jillian Edelstein’s photograph of Jan Matthews, who as Head of Catering, Cleaning and Waste for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) is responsible for the world’s largest peacetime catering operation.

The final Road to 2012: Aiming High exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London, opening 19 July, is part of the London 2012 festival, the spectacular 12-week celebration running from 21 June until 9 September 2012 bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK.

All three tour venues (it has also been displayed at Cardiff) have connections with sitters and photographers on show. Brian Griffin’s portraits include former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and London 2012 Ambassadors Denise Lewis and Jonathan Edwards. Photographer Bettina von Zwehl’s work for the tour includes Olympian diver Tom Daley, heptathlete Jessica Ennis and Olympian cyclist Victoria Pendleton.

Sitters for photographer Emma Hardy include LOCOG chair Seb Coe, Olympic Games Opening Ceremony Artistic Director Danny Boyle and his team, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison and world renowned author and former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo.

Made possible by the support of BT, the National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 project, part of the Cultural Olympiad, represents an insight into contemporary approaches to photographic portraiture in the UK. The Gallery invited seven British-based photographers to contribute to the project. They were asked to work on location, in places that were relevant to the sitter’s role in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Launched in 2009 the project presents high-profile leaders and those less well-known who are working and training behind the scenes across the UK. It introduces the visionary figures who conceived London’s bid to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the people responsible for designing and delivering the Olympic Park and the men and women with the enormous challenge of staging London 2012. The portraits feature the athletes at the heart of the event - World Champions, Olympians and Paralympians as well as those aspiring to be selected for Team GB for the first time.

Listen to the photographers talk about their careers and their work for the Road to 2012 project

A specially designed mobile website will enable visitors to access video interviews with photographers and sitters on their mobile phones, with QR codes on the panels linking though to these.

Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, says: ‘Thanks to BT this tour to the heart of three major British cities means that these extraordinary images – highlights of the National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 project – of inspirational people involved in London 2012 can be enjoyed for free by hundreds of thousands of people.’

Suzi Williams, Director BT Group Marketing and Brand, says: ‘From the very start of our London 2012 journey we’ve believed that the Games are about more than just sport – that’s why we’re proud to be a Premier Partner of the Cultural Olympiad. Our Road to 2012 project with the National Portrait Gallery creates a legacy for the nation – a celebration of the people at the heart of the Games. That’s why taking the portraits on tour is so important – they belong to the nation and we want to give as many people as possible the chance to see them.’

Ruth Mackenzie, Director, Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival, says: ‘The National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 project is a wonderful record of the range of people working to make London 2012 a huge success, and it is great that audiences can see Road to 2012 exhibitions for free in Cardiff, Edinburgh, Birmingham and, of course,  London.’


Making the ‘Road to 2012’ Portraits
A talk by Anne Braybon, Commissions Manager, National Portrait Gallery, London
Wednesday 6 June, 12.45 – 13.30, Hawthornden Lecture Theatre, Scottish National Gallery
Event in association with the National Galleries of Scotland 


Cardiff Bay, adjacent to Wales Millennium Centre (Ffresh entrance): 30 March - 27 May 2012    
Edinburgh, Mound Precinct: 1 June - 8 July 2012
Birmingham, Centenary Way: 13 July - 9 September 2012

Admission Free

For further Press information please contact: Neil Evans, Press Office, National Portrait Gallery, London Tel: 020 7312 2452 Email: [email protected]

To download Press images:

For Press information on BT London 2012 Projects please contact: Digby Halsby, Flint Public RelationsTel: 020 3463 2082 Email: [email protected]

For BT Press information please contact the BT Group Newsroom on its 24-hour number: 020 7356 5369.

From outside the UK dial + 44 20 7356 5369.

For London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad information please contact Paul Woodmansey in the London 2012 Press Office on +44 (0)203 2012 461, [email protected]

National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, WC2H 0HE opening hours: Saturday-Wednesday: 10am – 6pm (Gallery closure commences at 5.50pm) Late Opening: Thursday, Fridays:10am - 9pm (Gallery closure commences at 8.50pm) Recorded information: 020 7312 2463 General information: 020 7306 0055 Website:

About BT

BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications solutions and services, operating in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to our customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband and internet products and services and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, Openreach, BT Retail and BT Wholesale.

BT is proud to be the official communications services partner for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and a Premier Partner of the Cultural Olympiad.

In the year ended 31 March 2011, BT Group’s revenue was £20,076 million with profit before taxation of £1,717 million.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

For more information, visit

About the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival

The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements. Spread over four years, it is designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and inspire creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people.

The culmination of the Cultural Olympiad will be the London 2012 Festival, a spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK, from Midsummers Day on 21 June and running until the final day of the Paralympic Games on 9 September 2012.The London 2012 Festival will celebrate the huge range, quality and accessibility of the UK’s world-class culture including dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, fashion, film and digital innovation, giving the opportunity for people across the UK to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Principal funders of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival are Arts Council England, Legacy Trust UK and the Olympic Lottery Distributor. BP and BT are Premier Partners of the Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Festival.


Portraits by Anderson & Low:

Beth Tweddle, Hannah Whelan, Jenni Pinches and Rebecca Tunney
Anne Dunham
Women’s hockey team

Portraits by Jillian Edelstein

Jan Matthews
Peter Hendy and Graham Jones, Transport for London
Philip Sheppard

Portraits by Brian Griffin:

Soil Engineers  
Denise Lewis and Jonathan Edwards  
Olympic Park Leadership Team  
Kenny Family  
Ken Livingstone and Tony Winterbottom    

Portraits by Bettina von Zwehl

Tom Daley  
Jessica Ennis
Rebecca Adlington  
Katherine Grainger  
Nathan Stephens
Victoria Pendleton

Portraits by Emma Hardy

Sebastian Coe  
Danny Boyle, Mark Tildesley and Suttirat Larlarb
Chris Allison  
Michael Morpurgo and Greg Nugent  
Stella McCartney
Chris Holmes  

Portraits by Finlay Mackay   

Alistair Brownlee and Jonathan Brownlee with Malcolm Brown
Eleanor Simmonds with Billy Pye
Andy Triggs Hodge and Pete Reed
Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor
Louis Smith  
David Weir
Aaron Cook with Christine Cook, Nigel Cook and Luke Cook  
Mandip Sehmi and Andy Barrow  
Phillips Idowu  


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