Camila Batmanghelidjh

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Camila Batmanghelidjh

by Dean Marsh
oil on plywood panel, 2008
30 in. (763 mm) diameter
Commissioned as part of the First Prize, 2005 BP Portrait Award, 2008
Primary Collection
NPG 6845

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Dean Marsh (1968-), Artist. Artist or producer of 3 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Winner of the BP Portrait Award in 2005, Marsh was drawn to the sitter's distinctive dress style and found inspiration in the portraits of the nineteenth-century French artist Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. The sitter hopes that this portrait will encourage children to follow their dreams, 'no matter what the struggle.'

Related worksback to top

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Howgate, Sarah; Nairne, Sandy, A Guide to Contemporary Portraits, 2009, p. 39 Read entry

    In this portrait of Camila Batmanghelidjh (b. 1963), psychotherapist and founder of the charity Kids Company, the artist has alluded to her career by including a small broken horse, one of a number of models made by children that decorate the sitter’s workplace.

  • Nairne, Sandy (introduction), 500 Portraits: BP Portrait Award, 2011, p. 30
  • Ribeiro, Aileen; Blackman, Cally, A Portrait of Fashion: Six Centuries of Dress at the National Portrait Gallery, 2015, p. 22
  • Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, p. 274 Read entry

    Camila Batmanghelidjh is an Iranian-born psychotherapist and founder of Kids Company, a charity that provides support to thousands of vulnerable inner-city children. She is a passionate advocate for young people and, while in her twenties, she founded her first charity, The Place to Be, now a national organisation providing school-based mental health support for children.

    Commissioned by the Gallery, the artist Dean Marsh (b.1968) had won the Gallery’s annual BP Portrait Award in 2005. Inspired by Batmanghelidjh’s distinctive clothes, he based this portrait on Madame Rivière by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1806, Musée du Louvre, Paris), in which the subject is almost enveloped by gorgeous fabrics. In the making of this portrait, Marsh rejected lengthy sittings, deciding that his sitter’s time ‘was better spent doing what she does’, so initial studies were made in the Kids Company office. In his studio Marsh fabricated and worked from a life-sized dummy, dressed in his sitter’s turban, earrings and bangles, a proxy solution pioneered by artists in preceding centuries. Following the portrait’s unveiling in 2008, Batmanghelidjh commented that the inclusion of this portrait in the collection ‘serves to recognise the extraordinary courage and dignity of the children I work for.’

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