Some people might say that they have seen way more of Duchess Kate than they expected or should have seen, nudge nudge, if you know what I mean. Portrait Artist Paul Emsley had the challenge to put her back in the bottle or in bounds of the frame so to speak.
“Paul Emsley (born 1947 Glasgow Scotland) is an artist who worked in South Africa until 1996 and is now resident in Bradford-upon-Avon,Wiltshire, England. He is a former lecturer at the Stellenbosch University and the 2007 winner of the BP Portrait Award for portrait painting.His work can be found in most public collections in South Africa, The National Portrait Gallery London and The British Museum. He is known for his large detailed images of people, animals and flowers. There was a major retrospective of his work in 2012 at the Sasol Art Gallery in Stellenbosch. He is represented in the United Kingdom by the Redfern Gallery and in South Africa by BRUNDYN + GONSALVES.”
Emsley lives in Bradford on Avon, a lovely place outside Bath. I have painted there and recorded impressions of the vicarage estate. It is an inspiring place.
CNN’s Bryony Jones asked what we think of the Emsley portrait? Well, it makes her subdued and she appears private, in my opinion. She seems to want to retire to her nest and prepare for giving birth.
She is dignified.
"Duchess of Cambridge's first official portrait unveiled
By Bryony Jones, CNN
updated 2:23 PM EST, Fri January 11, 2013
Duchess of Cambridge's first official portrait, by artist Paul Emsley, unveiled in London
Catherine, who is expecting her first baby, posed for the picture last year
She is a patron of the National Portrait Gallery, where the painting will be shown
Reaction to the portrait has been mixed; many on Twitter claim it is unflattering
What do you think of the Duchess of Cambridge's portrait? Sound off with iReport or have your say in the comments below.
London (CNN) -- The first official portrait of Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, has been unveiled at London's National Portrait Gallery -- but has met with a mixed reaction from art critics and the public.
Award-winning artist Paul Emsley, who spent three-and-a-half months painting the Duchess's likeness, said he had tried to portray her warmth and personality in the picture.
"The Duchess explained that she would like to be portrayed naturally -- her natural self -- as opposed to her official self," he said in a video posted on the gallery's website.
"She struck me as enormously open and generous and a very warm person, so after initially feeling it was going to be an unsmiling portrait I think it was the right choice in the end to have her smiling - that is really who she is."
Do you remember the poem by Robert Browning called “My Last Duchess.” It is a dower but I like it, so here it is. I would recite if you were present to see the painting that I have drawn before you.
"My Last Duchess
by Robert Browning
That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall,
Looking as if she were alive. I call
That piece a wonder, now: Fra Pandolf’s hands
Worked busily a day, and there she stands.
Will’t please you sit and look at her? I said
“Fra Pandolf” by design, for never read
Strangers like you that pictured countenance,
The depth and passion of its earnest glance,
But to myself they turned (since none puts by
The curtain I have drawn for you, but I)
And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst,
How such a glance came there; so, not the first
Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, ’twas not
Her husband’s presence only, called that spot
Of joy into the Duchess’ cheek: perhaps
Fra Pandolf chanced to say “Her mantle laps
Over my lady’s wrist too much,” or “Paint
Must never hope to reproduce the faint
Half-flush that dies along her throat”: such stuff
Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough
For calling up that spot of joy. She had
A heart—how shall I say?—too soon made glad,
Too easily impressed; she liked whate’er
She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.
Sir, ’twas all one! My favour at her breast,
The dropping of the daylight in the West,
The bough of cherries some officious fool
Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule
She rode with round the terrace—all and each
Would draw from her alike the approving speech,
Or blush, at least. She thanked men,—good! but thanked
Somehow—I know not how—as if she ranked
My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name
With anybody’s gift. Who’d stoop to blame
This sort of trifling? Even had you skill
In speech—(which I have not)—to make your will
Quite clear to such an one, and say, “Just this
Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss,
Or there exceed the mark”—and if she let
Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set
Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse,
—E’en then would be some stooping; and I choose
Never to stoop. Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt,
Whene’er I passed her; but who passed without
Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands;
Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands
As if alive. Will’t please you rise? We’ll meet
The company below, then. I repeat,
The Count your master’s known munificence
Is ample warrant that no just pretence
Of mine for dowry will be disallowed;
Though his fair daughter’s self, as I avowed
At starting, is my object. Nay, we’ll go
Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though,
Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity,
Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!