BP Portrait Award 2016

I was really happy to be invited by Jane Gardiner to join her as a guest at the private view of the BP Portrait Award 2016.

She is a wonderful artist and has a portrait in this world-famous exhibition. Huge congratulations to her. Together with a couple of other artists we saw the show last night and had a wonderful time. This is the first year the BP Portrait Award is being held under the baton of new director of the National Portrait Gallery, Nicholas Cullinan, and it seems that he has started on a new course. The show is more varied than before and includes a lot more painterly portraits than we traditionally expect to see at the BP! Below are some of my favourites.


First Prize winner! Tender, quiet and beautiful. I love it.
Clara Drummond, Girl in a Liberty Dress, Oil on board, 26x37cm Picture

“The one with the ears!” Subtle and sensitive portrait by my friend Jane.
Jane Gardiner, To Sense What is Coming, Oil on panel, 30.4×40.6cm

Overall the exhibition is very varied and it has portraits from very painterly and bold to hyper-realistic and everything in between. There are the more traditional Sargent-styled portraits, a Bouguereau inspired super-soft portrait, hyper-realism as well as Art Nouveau and even a painting of a mobile phone (a little joke from the judges?).

The Travel Award which was won by Magali Cazo last year, showed us a wonderful collection of small portraits and a harmonica ‘scrapbook’ (it was more beautiful that the word suggests) of an African foundry.

You must go and see the exhibition for yourself. It is always fun to wonder whether you would have chosen these as your favourites and whether you agree with the judges on the chosen winners. Endless and entertaining debates probably follow. That is part of the fun of the BP Portrait Award.

For some reason (too much chatting I suppose) I did not take photos of all my favourites. So if you ask me, do look out for Jamie Coreth (Young Artist Award winner), Diego Aznar (Insomnia), Lewis Chamberlain (Alice and the Planets), Saied Dai (The Enigma of Jasper Rose), Samantha Fellows (Pearl in the Morning, Ready for School), Mark Shields (A Ridiculous Man). Oh heck, they are all great!

These were some of my personal favourites. But I must add I really enjoyed the variety of the show.



A wonderfully painted purple coat.
Brett Armory, Jijinka, Oil on canvas, 244x122cm Picture


Predicatably I was immediately attracted to the fantastically painted pleated scarf.
Joshua Waterhouse, The Weaver, Oil on wood panel, 66x72cm Picture

Whenever I see his work I am always impressed. A master at his craft.
Jean-Paul Tibbles, Jean 2015, Oil on canvas, 107×76.5cm< Picture

Haunting image by Shany van den Berg. Self, Oil on board, 30x21cm


John Borowicz, Tad, Oil on canvas, 101.6×76.2cm< Picture

Miseon Lee, A Portrait of my Son, Oil on canvas, 122x61cm


I am actually listening to his music while I write this blog post. Wonderful artist and great portrait.
Alexander Chamberlin, James Rhodes, Oil on canvas, 50x40cm Picture

Fabrics! Or is it? Well, whatever it is, it is beautiful.
Wolfgang Kessler, Die Vermutung I, Oil on canvas, 140x77cm Picture

Unassuming but beautifully crafted small portrait ( I think my photos is a little light, sorry)
Helen Wilson, Jonah Gaskell, Oil on board, 29x20cmPicture

Something different! Beautiful Pre-Raphaelite/Art Nouveau-ish feel to it.
Gentian Lulani, Pia, Oil on board, 26x38cm< Picture

Damn, this guy can paint! A master at work.
Benjamin Sullivan, Hugo, Oil on canvas, 46x36cm Picture

Works from the Travel Award section, by Magali Cazo


Waving hello to my readers! Me and Teri Anne Scoble
(she was in the BP Portrait Award exhibition with me in 2014) in front of her painting
The 271 to Arsenal, Oil on board, 40x30cmBP Portrait Award 2016
National Portrait Gallery
23 June – 4 September
​Free entry

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