© David Cobley / National Portrait Gallery, London
by David Cobley
oil on canvas, 2004
30 in. x 36 in. (762 mm x 914 mm)
Sitterback to top
- Sir Kenneth Arthur ('Ken') Dodd (1927-2018), Entertainer, comedian, singer and actor. Sitter in 4 portraits.
This portraitback to top
The portrait was worked up from preparatory drawings and oil sketches made on the basis of several meetings with the subject. Cobley, who describes his picture as 'an affectionate tribute', shows Dodd backstage. Though out of costume and make up, he suggests the experience of viewing him on stage, through the performative gesture reflected in the mirror both in front and behind him. Cobley emphasises Dodd's features; known for his gigantic smile and trademark teeth, he was once described as capable of conveying 'every expression available to the human face'. The portrait however reveals the vulnerability of the weary-looking comic. The complex relationship between on and off stage persona is also suggested by the pink tickling stick in the bottom right corner of the painting and the flash of hot pink shirt visible in the mirror though not actually seen in the dressing room. The portrait was shortlisted for the 2004 Holburne Portrait Prize.
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
Events of 2004back to top
Current affairsArmed robbers raid the Northern Bank in Belfast, stealing £26.5 million. Gunmen entered the homes of two bank officials, kidnapping their families and forcing them to let them into the bank, before loaded cash into vans and drove off. Police and the British and Irish governments claimed that the Provisional IRA was responsible and several of the people arrested had PIRA, Real IRA and Sinn Féin connections.
Art and scienceA fire at Charles Saatchi's art warehouse destroys some of the icons of Brit Art. Hell by Jake and Dinos Chapman, Everyone I Have Ever Slept With and The Hut by Tracey Emin and works by Damien Hirst, Chris Ofili, Sarah Lucas, Gavin Hume and Rachel Whiteread were among the casualties.
InternationalAn earthquake in the Indian Ocean on Boxing Day causes a tsunami that kills nearly 230,000 people when it hit the coasts of Southeast Asia. The earthquake itself was the second most powerful ever recorded on a seismograph and waves from the tsunami - the most devastating in history - were up to 30 metres high.
See this portrait
On display in Room 32 at the National Portrait Gallery