Wednesday 4 October 2017

The National Portrait Gallery has acquired portraits of Nottingham icons Vicky McClure, Jake Bugg, Viv Anderson and Eric Irons after they were identified by young people in Clifton, Nottingham as figures missing from its Collections.

The recommendations for acquiring the portraits were made by 22 GCSE photography students from Farnborough Academy, Clifton, Nottingham, who were invited to the Gallery in London to research its Collection of portraits of Nottingham-based personalities.  

The Gallery then acquired the four photographs which are displayed there for the first time alongside the students’ own work inspired by its Collections from tomorrow Thursday 5 October 2017.

The students were particularly keen for a portrait of the singer Jake Bugg as he attended the Farnborough Academy and his family still live in Clifton. The photograph of Bugg by Julian Broad is on display alongside a portrait of Line of Duty actor Vicky McClure by Dieter Brandenburg.

McClure, who found fame in the films by Nottingham Director Shane Meadows’s A Room for Romeo Brass and This Is England, was born in Wollaton, attended Fernwood School and lives in Nottingham with the writer and director Johnny Owen.  

A photograph of footballer Viv Anderson, who played for Nottingham Forest and was the first black footballer to represent England in a full international match in 1979 has also been acquired. The portrait is displayed alongside a photograph of Nottingham Magistrate Eric Irons (1921-2007), who became the first black magistrate in Britain and campaigned tirelessly for racial equality.

The photographs are included in the free display  Creative Connections: Nottingham (5 October 2017-25 February 2018)  alongside other portraits of Nottinghamshire sitters in the Gallery’s Collections such as the writer D H Lawrence; artist Dame Laura Knight; actor Samantha Morton; designer Sir Paul Smith; gymnast Becky Downie; boxer Carl Froch; writer Alan Sillitoe and Salvation Army founder William Booth.

Creative Connections: Nottingham also features work from the Farnborough Academy students following their collaboration with London-based photographer Katherine Green who taught them professional photography skills. The students used these new skills to authentically capture the spirit of the people and places that make up their community such as The Hope Centre, Lark Hill Retirement Village, Clifton Market and Central Park. The project was delivered in partnership with Nottingham Contemporary.

Creative Connections, devised by the National Portrait Gallery, was launched in 2012. So far, the project has taken place over four different London secondary schools from across four boroughs in east, west, north and south London. This is the first time the project has moved to a national platform outside of London. The project is designed to inspire young people, raise aspiration and pride of their local neighbourhood and support their creative skills development.

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director, National Portrait Gallery, London, says:  ‘After four successful years at the National Portrait Gallery, it is incredibly exciting to be taking Creative Connections to Nottingham. Through this pilot we are seeking to extend the project and build a way of working with different types of museums and galleries nationally. It is great to be working in partnership with Nottingham Contemporary, and seeing Katherine Green work collaboratively with students from Farnborough Academy. We are delighted that the students have been able to help identify new sitters from Nottingham for our Collection and that these will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery. ’

Sam Thorne, Director, Nottingham Contemporary, says:  ‘This has been a fantastic opportunity for us to collaborate with the National Portrait Gallery to shine a light on the extraordinary creativity of people from Nottingham. The project is about their stories, from the past and present. We are very excited to be presenting the exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary this summer, showcasing this work through the lens of artist Katherine Green and the students of Farnborough Academy, Clifton.’

Katherine Green, artist, says:  ‘It's been a great pleasure working with the students at Farnborough Academy, they've been learning about documenting their local community and have proved to be sensitive and mature in their approach. The community of Clifton have been very welcoming and supported the students by taking part in photo shoots and interviews.’

Julianne England, Head of Expressive Arts and Art & Design, The Farnborough Academy, says: ‘We hope that this project will be a platform to continue to develop positive local and wider community links that celebrate successes of the local community and provide future opportunities for the youth of Clifton, Nottingham.’

Each year artists collaborate with GCSE Art students to create original works that are exhibited at the Gallery alongside the portraits that inspired them. During this four-year programme the Gallery’s  partner schools and artists have been: St Paul’s Way School, Tower Hamlets and artist Lucy Steggals (2013); Brentside High School, Ealing and artist Eelyn Lee (2014); Haverstock School, Camden and artist Kate Peters (2015) and St Saviours and St Olaves School, Southwark and artist Simon Terrill (2016).


Creative Connections: Nottingha
Room 32, 5 October 2017 – 25 February 2018, National Portrait Gallery, London  Admission Free


Friday 8 December

Creative Connections Nottingham: Sir Paul Smith and Vicky McClure£8/£7

Sir Paul Smith, Britain’s foremost designer and BAFTA-winning actress Vicky McClure, both of whom feature as sitters in the Gallery’s current display, Creative Connections: Nottingham, talk about their lives, work and relationship with their home city. 


Artist Katherine Green is a social documentary photographer based in London. Her work often focuses on the idea of community and what makes or bonds communities. Her previous works have explored social environments such as sporting clubs, laundrettes and the home. Green has exhibited work at Kettle’s Yard, the National Portrait Gallery and The Lowry.

For further Press information, please contact: Neil Evans, Media Relations Manager, National Portrait Gallery:

Tel. 020 7312 2452 (not for publication) / Email [email protected]

To download press releases and images, please go to:

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