copyright: artwork - Daphne Todd / photo - Katherine Tyrrell
In her speech on receiving the award she highlighted how her career has been a prime example of the benefit that this very prestigious award can bestow on those shortlisted for a prize as well as those who win it. It enabled her to give up work and become a full-time artist and she subsequently became the first woman President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters.
She also commented on the support given to the portrait award by BP and thanked the company for their continuing support in this the 21st year of the BP Portrait Awards. She made the point that art competitions simply could not and would not exist without sponsorship. Sponsorship for a prestigious art competition which helps an artist's career is always much appreciated. As she wryly commented - with her past experience of being involved in such matters - one has to look for sponsorship whereever the money is and if not BP then one would need to look to the Banks!
Last Portrait of Mother
Her mother lived with her for the last 14 years of her life and celebrated her 100th birthday prior to her death last year. Daphne Todd had painted her mother many times over the years but her mother never liked the results - possibly because the portraits were too realistic. Neveretheless she'd given her daughter permission to do the portrait before she died.
Realistic painting can often be quite cruelDaphne Todd
We talked about her habit of painting from life and Daphne Todd commented that this is a "painting from death". Her mother has died and is lying on her cushion in the refrigerated room of the undertakers. In practical terms it meant she had to work quickly while the body started to change and she managed to complete the portrait in just three days of solid work. Her portrait reveals the distortions of a body affected by osteoporosis, the stomach is filling with gas and turning green and her skin is becoming transparent.
I asked her why she had painted her mother in this way. There were two reasons. First it was primarily about coming to terms with her mother's life ending; second, because she was simply curious about what death actually looked like. She's previously only seen people who had died after they had been prepared for viewing by the undertaker. She had absolutely no plans for the painting beyond actually doing it. A friend visiting her studio had seen the painting and prompted the entry. She'd had absolutely no expectations of being shortlisted never mind winning - she saw herself only as some sort of notional 'older artist'.
As I talked to her about the experience, she leaned across and patted her mother on the arm - in thanks.
I'll be doing more posts about the other prizewinners but here are the results in brief:
- Second Prize (£8,000): Michael Gaskell for Harry. This was the third time Michael has been shortlisted for the Award (see also BP Portrait Award: Michael Gaskell's unparalled record)
- Third Prize (£6,000): David Eichenberg for Tim II (see Two American Artists win BP Portrait Prizes)
- Young Artist Award (£5,000): Elizabeth McDonald for Don't be Too Serious (see Two American Artists win BP Portrait Prizes)
- BP Travel Award (£5,000): Paul Beel
The exhibition of portraits by the winners and selected entries will be at the National Portrait Gallery, London until 19 September 2010 after which it goes on tour to:
- the Usher Gallery, Lincoln (1 October - 14 November 2010) and
- Aberdeen Art Gallery (27 November 2010 - 22 January 2011).
(Note: This post has been revised and updated following the original posting on Tuesday night)
Making A Mark Archive of BP Portrait Award posts
BP Portrait Award 2010
- BP Portrait Award 2010 - Call For Entries 1 December 2009
- BP Portrait Award 2010 - Shortlist announced 28 Apr 2010
- Daphne Todd wins BP Portrait Award 2010
- Video - BP Portrait Exhibition 2010 opens today
- BP Portrait Award: Michael Gaskell's unparalled record
- Two American Artists win BP Portrait Prizes
- BP Portrait Award 2009 - Call for Entries 15 December 2009
- BP Portrait Award 2009 - the shortlist 27 May 2009
- BP portrait award - who enters and who gets selected 28 May 2009
- Peter Monkman wins first prize in BP Portrait Award 17 June 2009
- Exhibition review: BP Portrait Award 18 June 2009
- BP Portrait Tour & Portrait of the Nation 24 September 2009
- BP Portrait Award 2008 (call for entries) 6 December 2007
- BP Portrait Award shortlist announced - a woman will win! 25 April 2008
- BP Portrait Prize 2008 - exhibition opens 12 June 2008
- Craig Wylie wins BP Portrait Award 2008 17 June 2008
- BP Portrait Award 7 February 2007 (concerning the rule change)
- View the BP Portrait Award 2007
- Paul Emsley wins BP Portrait Award 22 June 2007
- Portraiture - Resources for Artists (maintains an archive of links to BP Portrait Awards in past years)
- Art Competitions in the UK - Resources for Artists