Commissioning a Portrait | The Sitters’ Perspectives
Patrick Nisbett and his wife Susan contacted Annabel Elton, head of commissions here at the RP, after deciding to have a portrait painted in place of a gravestone.
With Annabel’s care, help, and in-depth knowledge of a huge array of artists and their work, the Nisbetts chose to have their portrait painted by Emma Wesley who has been creating a meaningful and personal piece for them.
Patrick and Annabel Elton had been in touch over the years so Patrick approached Annabel with his ideas. Annabel works extremely closely with the artists at the RP and so was easily able to identify appropriate artists to meet the requirements of the Nisbetts’ brief. She sent through the details of some different suitable artists, along with examples of their work. Patrick and Susan were compelled to work with Emma Wesley as they really liked the way she tells stories through her portraits.
Discussing the Project
Emma then visited the Nisbetts to discuss the project in detail. They decided on a dual portrait of the couple sitting on a sofa. I asked about the personal features and if any hidden meanings have been incorporated which Patrick disclosed;
‘Susan is wearing the necklace I had commissioned for our golden wedding anniversary. It is made up of gold pearl shaped balls and she is also wearing a jacket she first wore for our 3rd child’s wedding in Rajasthan. I wore a regimental boating jacket, a school tie, and Nisbett tartan trousers which are representative of three important influences in my life. We hope to incorporate a funeral element such as a tombstone in the background as this is what set the idea off in our minds in the first place.’
Patrick and Susan’s first sittings were spread over two days, where they sat for half a day each. This went very well for them. They felt incredibly comfortable and at ease in Emma’s presence and she skillfully translated their ideas and desires into the artwork. They are currently arranging further sittings and Patrick and Susan are looking forward to seeing the work in progress at their next sitting!