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Sir Emmanuel Kaye

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Sir Emmanuel Kaye

by Paul Brason
oil on canvas, 1991
42 in. x 36 in. (1068 mm x 914 mm)
Commissioned, 1992
Primary Collection
NPG 6158

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Paul Brason (1952-), Portrait painter. Artist of 3 portraits.

This portraitback to top

This portrait was commissioned by the Trustees of the Gallery and depicts Kaye as as if looking out into his garden towards his beloved golden Labrador 'Barley'. The bird in the cage is not real but an antique mechanical sculpture from his collection.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Gibson, Robin, The Face in the Corner: Animal Portraits from the Collections of the National Portrait Gallery, 1998, p. 94
  • Robin Gibson, Pets in Portraits, 2015, p. 139 Read entry

    Sir Emmanuel Kaye, a noted industrialist and philanthropist, had originally suggested Paul Brason, a former Portrait Award winner, for the job of painting his portrait, since he admired the artist’s double portrait of Sir Roy Strong, showing both the professional and the personal sides of the sitter’s life. Unwilling to repeat exactly the same formula, Brason suggested the imaginative compromise seen here of using Sir Emmanuel’s reflection in the plate-glass window, apparently looking out into the garden towards his beloved golden Labrador, Barley. A connoisseur and collector as well as a keen animal lover, Sir Emmanuel was anxious that the caption on the portrait when it was unveiled should make it clear that the bird in the cage was an antique mechanical canary and not a real one.

    Barley was five years old when the portrait was painted and had been acquired from a shop in Sir Emmanuel’s town of Odiham, Hampshire. Labrador retrievers originally developed, as the name suggests, on the coast of Canada, where they were used for helping to haul in the fishermen’s nets. Popular as a gun dog since the latter half of the nineteenth century, the breed is known for its responsiveness and in recent years has been much used as a guide dog and for detecting drugs and explosives. Indeed, at the age of one year, Barley himself was pronounced by a leading dog-behaviour specialist to be ‘a dream dog’.

  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 345

Placesback to top

Events of 1991back to top

Current affairs

Publishing tycoon Robert Maxwell dies after falling from his yacht in the Canary Islands. Although the verdict was 'accidental death', suspicions of suicide or murder were raised because of his alleged connections to Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, and the revelation that he had used hundreds of millions of pounds from his companies' pension funds to finance his corporate debt and lavish lifestyle.

Art and science

Freddie Mercury, lead singer of the rock group Queen, dies of Aids.
Marc Quinn brings a new meaning to the term 'Self-Portrait' with his work Self, a cast of the artists' head made out of his own blood.


Members of the USSR sign the Alma-Ata Protocol, disbanding the Union in favour of a Commonwealth of Independent States, thereby granting independence to the various republics.
The Revolutionary United Front begins a civil war against the government of Sierra Leone in West Africa. Tens of thousands die in eleven years of violence.
Civil War breaks out in the former Yugoslavia as Slovenia and Croatia declare their independence.

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