Thursday, 7 Dec 2023

New portrait of King Charles unveiled today – and it’s far from flattering

King Charles and Camilla meet military veterans in Kenya

A new figurate portrait of King Charles may be causing quite the stir due to its seemingly unflattering depiction of the monarch, but it is actually the unique style of the renowned artists who painted it.

The image of the King will feature as part of Stuart Pearson Wright’s new exhibition Miscellanalects, which will run from November 1 until 25 at the Flowers gallery in Cork Street, London.

The artist has previously painted the likeness of some of Britain’s most famous faces, including Keira Knightley, Daniel Radcliffe and Rosamund Pike.

Mr Pearson Wright is also a BP Portrait Award winner and is considered one of the country’s foremost figurative painters, with figurative portraiture retaining strong references to the real world and the human form in its style, rather than being overtly flattering.

This explains why King Charles’ image features an especially pronounced nose and chin, and does not hold back in showing the monarch’s advanced years.

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The new Miscellanalects exhibition takes inspiration from British folklore and ancient mythology, with the King’s portrait to be presented alongside a number of other characters from myths and legends.

Mr Pearson Wright’s work has been described as “uncanny” and “theatrical” and the “unsettling” nature of his portraits is characteristic of his work.

The word Miscellanalects is a portmanteau of the words “miscellaneous” and “analects”, meaning a collection or compilation, and aims to make the viewer engage with the art in an unexpected way.

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King Charles himself is also a dab hand with a paintbrush, having often referred to himself as an “enthusiastic amateur” artist.

This year a display of his watercolour paintings were put on show in the ballroom at his Norfolk estate Sandringham for the public to admire from April 1 until October 12.

The collection of over 40 works of art showed the monarch’s “creative interpretation of many British geographic landscapes and royal residences”, with scenes from Windsor Castle, Highgrove and Balmoral all on display.

The King spoke of his love of painting in a 1991 book ‘HRH The Prince of Wales Watercolours’.

He said in the book: “I took up painting entirely because I found photography less than satisfying.

“Quite simply, I experienced an overwhelming urge to express what I saw through the medium of watercolour and to convey that almost ‘inner’ sense of texture which is impossible to achieve via photography.”

Although he never sells his originals, the King raises money for his foundation by selling limited edition signed prints of his works.

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