Daphne Todd’s ‘Last Portrait of Mother’

Every year The National Portrait Gallery houses the BP Portrait Awards. It features the paintings of artists from all over the world; with a first prize incentive of £25,000 this award can launch an artist’s career.

This year there were 2,177 entrants, of which 58 works were selected. Subjects vary from intimate family portraits, revealing self portraits and even a few of familiar celebrities.

I was disappointed to find that the winners’ portraits had been decided and the results displayed, as I found this affected my opinions of the works. First prize was awarded to Daphne Todd for her poignant painting of her mother on her deathbed.

Eliot Haigh’s ‘Quena’

My personal favourite in the show was Quena by Eliot Haigh. A soulful painting capturing a private moment of contemplation. My companion’s favourite was Alan Coulson’s ‘Ciara’, a portrait of the artist’s wife that reflects the intimacy of their relationship. A large painting, the artist shows precise detail and yet still creates a painting of mood and character.

Portraiture is a subject that touches all of us. We see faces everyday, ours and other people’s. The BP Portrait Awards are on until 19 September, and with a Visitors Award it’s worth going to have your vote.

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