Seabourn Conversations, Featured Speaker
Richard Stone has painted portraits of the Royal Family for four decades. At the age of 22, he became Britain’s youngest Royal portrait artist since Sir Thomas Lawrence painted Queen Charlotte in 1790 at the age of 21. Richard was invited to paint the Queen Mother’s portrait. The finished work was greeted with tremendous acclaim, but many were sceptical that the young artist could sustain a successful career. Although he has had little formal art training, his success is a direct result of natural talent and a strong determination to succeed in the career he has pursued since childhood. Richard saw his Royal sitter as the first step to what would lead to the achievement of his childhood ambition. Unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery in 1992, his portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II is his most famous work. The portrait is hailed as one of the finest painted during Her Majesty’s reign and was recently chosen as the new air mail stamp.
Whilst his portraits of the Royal Family are often considered his better known works, Richard’s portfolio has included many other famous people, including Luciano Pavarotti, Baroness Thatcher, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela. His international reputation singles him out as one of the world’s great portrait painters. Looking at his work, it is interesting to note the diversity of Richard’s sitters. Every portrait displays an empathy with the individual personality of the sitter, and even when the sitter is unknown to us, we can learn much about them from the sensitive and closely observed portrayals. True to life and technically accomplished as they are, Richard Stone’s portraits form part of the long-established and varied great tradition of portrait painting.