A new painted double portrait of Prince William and Prince Harry, by Nicky Philipps, commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery
in London goes on public display there for the first time today (Wednesday 6 January 2010).
Painted from life, the portrait shows the Princes wearing the dress uniform of the Household Cavalry (Blues and Royals), exactly as worn for The Queen's Birthday Parade in 2008. The sittings for the portrait were arranged around the Princes' Army careers and official engagements.
The Princes are pictured at the Library of Clarence House, their official residence since 2002, where Prince Harry is shown seated and in conversation with Prince William who stands to his right. Artist Nicky Philipps chose to capture an informal moment, 'a behind-the-scenes glance at the human element of royal responsibility and to emphasise their brotherly relationship.'
The setting of Clarence House gave Philipps an opportunity to incorporate into the portrait some associations with the house's former resident, the late Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. A glazed painting of her by Savely Sorine can be seen in the niche in which Prince Harry sits. Behind Prince William an open double door leads into her sitting room, where two paintings from Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother's private art collection - a portrait of George Bernard Shaw by Augustus John above a landscape of New Haven by Duncan Grant - can be seen in the background.
HRH Prince William of Wales was, at the time of the sittings, a Lieutenant in the Household Cavalry (Blues and Royals). He is now training to be a Search and Rescue Pilot with the Royal Air Force, where he holds the rank of Flight Lieutenant. The Prince is patron or president of several charities and organisations including Centrepoint and the Football Association. In the portrait Prince William wears the star and sash of the Order of the Garter, the British order of chivalry founded in 1348, to which he was installed by Her Majesty The Queen as the 1000th knight of the Order in 2008.
HRH Prince Henry (Harry) of Wales was, at the time of the sittings, and still is Lieutenant in the Household Cavalry (Blues and Royals) and is training to become an Army Air Corps helicopter pilot. In early 2008, he served with NATO forces in Afghanistan. In 2006 Prince Harry co-founded the charity Sentebale with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho, to support orphans and vulnerable children in Lesotho.
Artist Nicola J 'Nicky' Philipps (b. 27.08.64) trained at the City and Guilds School of Art and the Cecil Graves Studio in Florence. She has undertaken a number of high-profile portrait commissions including the writer Ken Follett. She exhibited in the BP Portrait Award exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in 2005.
She says: 'It was a great privilege to be asked to paint the Princes for the National Portrait Gallery. They were very good company and although I was commissioned to paint them in their official context, I hope I have also captured some of the brotherly banter that characterised the sittings.'
Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, says: 'The first portrait of the Princes captures them formally dressed, but informally posed. It is a delightful image which extends the tradition of royal portraiture.'
As a representation of senior Members of the Royal Family, this portrait conforms to the tradition of formal royal portraiture, and can be considered as a companion to the Gallery's portraits of their parents, painted by Bryan Organ in 1980 and 1981.
The portrait is displayed as part of the National Portrait Gallery's Contemporary Galleries alongside other portraits of the royal family from the Gallery's Collection, including Conversation at the Royal Lodge, Windsor, painted by Sir James Gunn in 1950, Alison Watt's portrait of the Queen Mother, commissioned by the Gallery in 1989, and photographic portraits of the Princes and other members of the royal family by John Swannell and Mario Testino.
Prince William and Prince Harry: a new portrait by Nicky Philipps is on display in the National Portrait Gallery's Contemporary Galleries (Room 40) from 6 January 2010