THE SITTER'S TALE; Ken Loach

New faces at the National Portrait Gallery: football is responsible for this one, reveals the film director
Click to follow
The Independent Culture
The portrait came about because I support a football team, Bath City. I live in Bath, and I made the acquaintance of Nick Cudworth who was also standing on the rather empty terraces during one particular game. We got chatting, one thing led to another, and he mentioned he was a painter. He said he did portraits and would I fancy sitting.

My initial reaction was to decline because I just felt the implied vanity was more than I could deal with. But he was politely insistent, so I went along to his studio.

I sat for quite a time while he took some photographs. I went in what I happened to be wearing that day - I don't have a vast wardrobe to choose from, and I always wear my long leather coat.

I didn't pose for him at all - he just said sit there so I did. The final painting was done mainly from the initial photographs he took, but he also had a sense of who I was from our chats on the terraces.

I don't know why he chose the colours he did - they are quite moody. Perhaps Bath City weren't doing so well at the time ... People say they recognise the portrait as me which is good. It is fatal to judge your portrait yourself. I try not to look in mirrors, and as I don't wear glasses when I shave, what I see is not what other people see. But when he had finished I looked at it and said, that's me.

It is extraordinary to be in the National Portrait Gallery - I haven't quite got my head round it yet. The NPG is one of my favourite galleries and I really enjoy going - now my portrait is there I will have to sneak past it, or hang around, seeing if anyone does a double-take at the likeness of me next to it. Ken Loach's 1998 portrait by Nick Cudworth hangs in the National Portrait Gallery, WC2 (0171 306 0055)

Comments