Artist Dan Llywelyn Hall defends his 'Spitting Image' portrait of the Queen against critics

 

The artist whose portrait of the Queen has been criticised as looking like a Spitting Image puppet has defended his work, saying he "wouldn't change a thing".

Dan Llywelyn Hall's expressionist-style painting of the Queen has generated strong views among many but the painter said he was "thrilled" with the work.

Yet he confessed he did not know what the monarch thought of her likeness, saying "she's very good like that, she doesn't respond to any portraits".

The 5ft by 4ft canvas shows the Queen sitting in an ornate chair with her hands in her lap and was commissioned by the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) to mark the 60th anniversary of the Coronation.

Hall defended his work during a discussion last night on Channel 5's 5 News with David Lee, an art critic for Jackdaw magazine, saying: "I'm thrilled with it, I wouldn't change a thing."

He went on to say: "I'm convinced I achieved everything I wanted to and set out with the portrait. I've had a tremendous reception and I'm totally indifferent to the reception of people, I really couldn't care."

The 32-year-old painter is one of the youngest artists to paint a portrait of the Queen, the WRU's patron.

Asked to respond to the criticisms made against his work, Hall replied: "Well I'm with Oscar Wilde on this, I would say it's the role of the artist to educate the critic and the role of the critic to educate the public.

"So for me it's just a matter of rolling with the punches."

When Mr Lee criticised the portrait for not looking like the Queen, the painter said: "It's not the role now. Painting has to be pressed a little further, I think, particularly in portraiture.

"It occupies this cultural backwater, it's very stuffy, it's very dull and we have this tremendous reverence to make it look like photographs. Painters have to deepen the game and it has to go a lot further than that."

The portrait was produced in a few short months after Hall held a sitting with the Queen late last year in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle.

The Cardiff-born artist's portraits of First World War veterans Henry Allingham and Harry Patch were recently displayed at Windsor Castle and are now a permanent feature in the Royal Collection.

Describing the experience of having the Queen sit for him, the painter said: "It was very humbling I suppose to begin with, I've always been a great fan of her and I suppose after that it just enhanced that experience.

"She's a great conversationalist and very enjoyable company."

The portrait will be displayed at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium and has been completed in time for celebrations this year marking the 60th anniversary of the Coronation, which was held on June 2 1953.

PA

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