New exhibition by Daphne Todd, OBE

Daphne Todd, OBE, is exhibiting at the Mall Galleries from the 10th to the 23rd December. She will be showing work created during her role as official tour artist to TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall in 2011, alongside Spanish landscapes.

She says ‘ I was to paint a portrait of HRH The Prince of Wales but the amount of sitting time I requested caused, I was led to believe, royal hands to be thrown up in horror. So it was an enormous surprise to be so very kindly invited to accompany TRHs The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall on their royal tour of South Africa and Tanzania as Official Tour Artist.

The Prince has extended this gentle and civilised form of patronage to numerous artists on some 40 similar occasions in the past. Artists are given a free hand and in my case I chose to attempt straightforward landscapes painted on the spot.

I simply could not have kept up with the pace of the royal couple who each made an average of seven official visits every day. I could manage only one painting a day, each severely restricted in both time and scale.

The paintings in this exhibition demonstrate all that was possible to do under those conditions. But the experience reminded me of an earlier time in my life when I made a conscious choice to paint hot landscapes, also entirely on the spot, but with the luxury of time limited only by the passing seasons. I am showing these much larger and more considered Spanish landscapes here in contrast. Painting them I felt I came of age as an artist and the ever changing light taught me something of inestimable value to a portrait painter that I had not learned in six years in the studio of the Slade’.

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Daphne is the only artist to have won both the BP Portrait Award (in 2010) and to have won the Second Prize in 1983 (when it was The John Player Award). She was the first female President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters form 1994 to 2000 and was made an OBE in 2002.

Her sitters have included Lord Fellowes, Dame Janet Baker, Sir Christopher Ondaatje, Lord Armstrong, Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover, Sir Tom Stoppard and Spike Milligan.

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Heatherley's blog on art, artists and life in an art school
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