Thursday 23 May 2019

Lily Cole presents £35,000 cheque to painter for portrait of ‘universal mother’

London artist Miriam Escofet painted her elderly mother at the table, with tea crockery.

Lily Cole (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Lily Cole (Jonathan Brady/PA)

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

A painting of a “universal mother” sitting down for a cup of tea has won this year’s BP Portrait Award.

London-based artist Miriam Escofet depicted her elderly mother at the table, with tea crockery.

Her winning portrait, An Angel At My Table, was selected from 2,667 entries from 88 countries, submitted for judging anonymously.

An Angel At My Table by Miriam Escofet (Miriam Escofet/National Portrait Gallery)

Escofet, 51, who moved to the UK from Barcelona when she was 12, wanted to “transmit an idea of the universal mother, who is at the centre of our psyche and emotional world” in her work.

Judges said that they were “struck by the constraint and intimacy” of  the composition, evoking “both the inner stillness of her subject and the idea of the universal mother”.

At the National Portrait Gallery, model Lily Cole presented Escofet with a £35,000 cheque and a commission worth £7,000.

Second prize of £12,000 went to US painter Felicia Forte, for Time Traveller, Matthew Napping, depicting her boyfriend asleep in bed on a sweltering summer’s day in Detroit.

Time Traveller, Matthew Napping by Felicia Forte (Felicia Forte/National Portrait Gallery)

The £10,000 third prize went to Chinese artist Zhu Tongyao for Simone, his portrait of his neighbours’ child from his time staying in Florence.

The BP Young Artist Award of £9,000 was won by 28-year-old Suffolk based artist Ania Hobson for A Portrait Of Two Female Painters, a portrait of the artist with her sister-in-law.

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, chair of the judges and director of the National Portrait Gallery, said: “This has been another year of outstanding entries to the BP Portrait Award, representing the very best of contemporary portrait painting.

Simone by Zhu Tongyao (Zhu Tongyao/National Portrait Gallery)

“It is a privilege to chair the judging process and I would like to thank all the artists who decided to enter the 2018 competition. I hope visitors will enjoy this year’s selection of works.”

The BP Portrait Award 2018 exhibition will run at the National Portrait Gallery, London, from Thursday to Sunday September 23rd.

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