Court Painter Residency

A series of large-format photographic portraits made during a week-long residency at the Royal West of England Academy or Art.

The portraits are primarily informed by portrait miniatures, daguerreotypes and the work of the person they depict. They celebrate the history of the academy and it’s academicians, creating a juxtaposition between the historical and contemporary.

A 5m long oil painting was hung in the Drawing Room Studio to provide a painterly background to each photograph, which was added to before, during and after each portrait was made.

The final images were shot on 5×4 sheet film, set in traditional ovals and hung on the staircase between the downstairs gallery and reception.

The Drawing Room Studio was transformed in to a replica of Monet’s Giverny studio, but with a public thoroughfare, so visitors to the gallery could move freely through the space or stay and watch as the portraits were being made.

The oil painting that provided the background for the portraits has since been reworked as the Garden Pentaptych [pen-tap-tick] to represent both the constant growing and dying flora (plants and flowers) and the theatre of fauna (animals) within a garden – which, when fully assembled is an altarpiece to ‘gardening as method’.