Royal Portrait Roils Viewers Before Unveiling


A new royal portrait of Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, will be presented at 4 p.m. in London today at the Wales Office in Whitehall. The artwork is titled Fatherhood.

It was created by Welsh artist Dan Llewelyn Hall, who depicts the Prince with a pensive look on his face, wearing a dark suit and a red tie, and a poppy in his lapel.  His ruddy complexion and the painting’s fleshy tones are reminiscent of British painter Jenny Saville, a favorite of Charles Saatchi.

It hasn’t taken long for audiences to begin commenting on the royal portrait, many with a less-than-positive view of it.  The same artist’s portrait of the Queen last year was blasted. Comments left on the Daily Mail website included “Where do they get these artists from? First Kate now this. Terrible!” and “The painting is horrible, let’s get a real artist to do a makeover. William is too handsome to display this.”

Others took to Twitter to share their views with one tweeter deeming it “bloody awful” and another asking the Mail: “Whatcha mean a bit rubbish? … It’s total rubbish!”

The artist, who is 33, graduated from art school in 2003 before being awarded the Sunday Times “Young Artist of the Year.” His portraits of First World War veterans Henry Allingham and Harry Patch are now a permanent feature in the Royal Collection and the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath, according to the Mail. Hall is the youngest person ever to paint the Queen, the report notes.

Asked to respond to the criticism surrounding his work, Hall told the Mail, somewhat cryptically: “Well I’m with Oscar Wilde on this. I would say it’s the role of the artist to educate the critic and the role of the critic to educate the public.”

The portrait will be put up for auction at Bonhams centenrary WWI sale on October 1, with all proceeds going to the Victoria Cross Trust and War Memorials Trust.

Kate Middleton has also been the subject of more than one portrait. Is it possible some interested buyer will snap up both and display them as a pair?


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