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P.D. James, by Michael Taylor, 1996 - NPG 6361 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

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P.D. James

by Michael Taylor
oil on canvas, 1996
33 7/8 in. x 41 3/4 in. (860 mm x 1060 mm)
Commissioned, 1996
NPG 6361

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Patsy Shepherd

30 January 2017, 16:18

From "Time to Be in Earnest: A Fragment of Autobiography," by P.D. James:
"I did ask him [the artist Michael Taylor] during a break [in thesitting] if he was intending to make me look sinister or mysterious, to which he replied, 'I have enough problems putting down what I see without trying to see something else.' He has put down precisely what he saw: an elderly much-lined woman with, I suppose, a certain authority. It is the painting of a seventy-five-year-old by someone still young, and is literally wart and all. It is a powerful painting which I much admire and, like all powerful paintings, provokes controversy. Some of my friends complain that it verges on caricature, but no one says it isn't like me." (P. 146 of the large print edition, Thorndike Press, 2000)

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