Press Release – New Zealand Portrait Gallery
In her Diamond Jubilee Year Her Majesty the Queen granted an exclusive portrait sitting to New Zealand artist Nick Cuthell, to fulfil a commission for the New Zealand Portrait Gallery.
The portrait, to be unveiled at Government House on April 10 by Prince William the Duke of Cambridge, will become part of the New Zealand Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection in Shed 11 on Wellington Waterfront.
“It’s a tremendous honour that Her Majesty has allowed us this unique opportunity to paint her from life, and not from photographs which is now more usual” Keith Ovenden, the Gallery’s Chairman of Trustees said. “The New Zealand Portrait Gallery is a national institution so this portrait now belongs to the people of New Zealand. We hope as many people as possible will come to see it” he said.
The portrait was made possible by an anonymous donor group of young New Zealanders who wanted to mark their loyalty to the Queen in celebration of her 60 remarkable years as Queen of New Zealand. Gallery Director Avenal McKinnon said the group felt it was important that the portrait would be on show and freely accessible in posterity for all citizens to see.
“We were especially delighted that the donors selected Nick Cuthell, a young artist who has frequently exhibited with us, and whose work we respect and follow with great interest”Avenal McKinnon said. “ He has been a regular finalist in the biennial Adam Portrait Award, and a few years ago exhibited a fine group of portraits marking the New Zealand tour of Ian McKellen and the cast of “Waiting for Godot”. He was more recently commissioned to paint the official portrait of Dr Alan Bollard when he retired as Governor of the Reserve Bank, as well as undertaking commissions in London and Florence, Italy, where he has studied.”
Her Majesty acceded to Nick Cuthell’s request that she wear a simple blue day dress, adorned by her New Zealand silver fern brooch. He was able to describe to her where the portrait would be hung, an environment she remembered from previous visits.
Nick Cuthell is putting the finishing touches to the portrait which he will bring to New Zealand for the April 10 unveiling by the Duke of Cambridge during a state reception at Government House, before it is transferred to its permanent home in the New Zealand Portrait Gallery the following day.