The Artist's Process
Past display archive
4 December 2007 - 1 June 2008
Room 37 and 37a
Neil Kinnock; Glenys Kinnock
by Andrew Tift
This display tells the stories behind the production of some of the National Portrait Gallery's recent portraits. With the aid of sketchbooks and photographs, it provides an insight into the different working practices of the artists who created them, from Andrew Tift's meticulous scale drawings for his portrait of Neil and Glenys Kinnock, to Tom Phillips's large-scale and semi-abstract sketches of the writer Dame Iris Murdoch.
As part of their commissions to make portraits for the National Portrait Gallery, the artists Stuart Pearson Wright, Andrew Tift and Tomas Watson kept diaries recording their process. These detail the progression of the works and reveal common dilemmas and anxieties. Every portrait in this display involved sittings from life. Some were painted in their subjects' homes, where the surroundings proved inspiring. A crucial element in the making of these portraits was the relationship that developed between the artist and sitter, which Stuart Pearson Wright describes as the 'very particular intimacy of a set of portrait sittings.'
Listen to a series of podcasts exploring the lives of pioneering women, past and present.
William Eggleston was closely associated with the alternative music scene in Memphis. Revisit our 2016 exhibition and listen to a special playlist.
Links to audio and transcripts of interviews with artists, sitters and historic recordings.
- Stephen Hawking (NPG 5799)
- Stephen Hawking (NPG 6802(1))
- Stephen Hawking (NPG 6802(2))
- Stephen Hawking (NPG 6802(3))
- Iris Murdoch (NPG 5944(1))
- Iris Murdoch (NPG 5944(4))
- Sir Richard Rogers (NPG 6021)
- Sir Richard Rogers (NPG 6022(5))
- Sir Richard Rogers (NPG 6022(7))
- Sir Richard Rogers (NPG 6022(8))
- Sir Richard Rogers (NPG 6022(9))
- Seamus Heaney (NPG 6261)
- Doris Lessing (NPG 6517(1))
- Doris Lessing (NPG 6517(2))
- Neil Kinnock; Glenys Kinnock (NPG 6583)
- John Robert Fowles (NPG 6584)
- J.K. Rowling (NPG 6745(13))
- J.K. Rowling (NPG 6723)