Roald Dahl Portrait Stars at the National Portrait Gallery

Matthew Smith, Roald Dahl, 1944 Courtesy National Portrait Gallery, London

A rare portrait of writer Roald Dahl as a dashing RAF pilot is one of the key exhibits in a new exhibition at London’s National Portrait Gallery, the Telegraph reports.

The painting, by Matthew Smith, is part of two-person show gathering works by Smith and sculptor Frank Dobson, which opened earlier this week.

Dated from 1944, the portrait shows the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory author wearing his military uniform.

It was painted after Dahl returned to England following a plane crash in Libya, years before he shot to fame with his quirky children’s books.

”During the 20th century, pioneering artists such as Matthew Smith and Frank Dobson developed portraiture in new ways,” Paul Moorhouse, the NPG’s curator of 20th century portrait told the Telegraph. “Emphasising qualities of colour, light and texture, their portraits are wonderfully sensuous, expressive objects in themselves. This display provides an opportunity to compare these artists’ remarkable achievements.”

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