Saturday, June 25, 2022

Portrait of Michael Eavis to hang in National Portrait Gallery

A portrait of Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis by Sir Peter Blake has been commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery - and has been unveiled at the Glastonbury Festival today – Peter Blake’s 90th birthday

The portrait will also be displayed at the National Portrait Gallery when it reopens in Spring  2023

Michael Eavis at Glastonbury by Peter Blake. 2022.
Photographer: Damian Griffiths, image courtesy of Waddington Custot.

The portrait depicts Michael Eavis standing in front of the festival’s iconic Pyramid Stage at Worthy Farm, where the 50th festival is being hosted for the first time in three years, following cancellations due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the background is a dairy cow and in the foreground is some rather lush and very naturalistic green grass. I love the wrinkly knees!

In summary a famous artist age 90 with a white beard, best known for co-creating the sleeve design for the Beatles' album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band has painted a portrait of another old bloke, age 86 - with a white beard - who founded and hosts the Glastonbury Festival on his farm in Somerset.
“Celebrating both the sitter and artist’s major contributions to British art and culture, we are delighted to have commissioned this new portrait of Michael Eavis by Sir Peter Blake for the National Portrait Gallery’s Collection. Smiling with his arms open wide, this painting celebrates Michael and his legacy as he prepares to welcome music fans from across the world back to Glastonbury this year, where we are delighted to unveil it to also celebrate Sir Peter Blake’s 90th birthday. As a fantastic addition to our contemporary collection, we very much look forward to exhibiting this wonderful portrait when our transformed National Portrait Gallery reopens in 2023.” Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery

About Michael Eavis

Michael Eavis was born in 1935 and grew up on Worthy Farm in Pilton, Somerset. After attending both Wells Cathedral School and the Thames Nautical Training College, he joined the British Merchant Navy, but returned to Worthy Farm, aged 19, on the death of his father. 

16 years after inheriting the 150-acre dairy farm and its 60 cows, Eavis hosted the first Glastonbury Festival at the site in 1970, inspired after watching Led Zeppelin perform at the Shepton Mallet Blues Festival. 1,500 fans attended the first festival, which now attracts 200,000 people per year, making it one of the largest greenfield music and performing arts festivals in the world. 

In 2007, Eavis was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of the positive impact he has made through his work.
“I'm so pleased to have been painted by my old friend Peter, and that my portrait is his first commission for the National Portrait Gallery. That’s a rare treat for a Somerset dairy farmer!”
Michael Eavis CBE

About Peter Blake

A fellow music lover, Sir Peter Blake is one of the greatest living British artists. 

Born in 1932 in Dartford, Kent, early works that brought him fame include the cover for The Beatles’ iconic album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which he designed with his first wife Jann Haworth. Blake is a painter, sculptor, draughtsman and printmaker, who combines elements of popular culture within his work. Blake first exhibited his work in 1950 and from the 1970s to today, he has enjoyed regular gallery and institutional exhibitions – including retrospectives at the Tate Gallery, London in 1984 and most recently at Tate Liverpool in 2007. 

He continues to be associated with the world of music. In 2022, Blake was knighted as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to art. 
“I visited the first Glastonbury in 1970 and have loved the festival ever since, so I was thrilled when the National Portrait Gallery commissioned me to paint Michael's portrait. After receiving the commission, we took Michael for lunch at a fancy West End restaurant. He arrived resplendent in his trademark denim shorts, which stopped the restaurant in its tracks! I knew then, that I had to include them in the portrait. I hope my painting encapsulates Michael’s free spirit, joyful energy and love of life.”
Sir Peter Blake CBE

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