Married Artists' Paintings to be Featured in National Portrait Gallery's BP PORTRAIT AWARD EXHIBITION, 6/26

Married Artists' Paintings to be Featured in National Portrait Gallery's BP PORTRAIT AWARD EXHIBITION, 6/26

For the first time in the 25-year history of the BP Portrait Award a husband and wife have succeeded in having their portraits selected for exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery (26 June - 21 September 2014).

Their two larger-than-life sized paintings feature famous chefs including a seven-foot study of TV personality James Martin.

Tim Hall's selected portrait, Henrietta and Ollie (oil on canvas 2032 x 1422mm), shows his wife Henrietta Graham, with their pug dog, Ollie, working on her series of paintings of chefs in their shared studio. 'Henrietta and I share a studio,' says Hall, 'and for a long time I have wanted to paint her and her pug, who stands besides her working every day.' On the easel behind Henrietta can be seen her portrait of Rene Redzepi of the world famous restaurant Noma in Copenhagen. She is surrounded by studies and source material.

About the size of a large freezer unit, her portrait of chef James Martin (oil on canvas, 1117mm x 2032mm), from this project has also been selected for the BP Portrait Award 2014. The sitting was suggested by Pierre Koffmann, another subject in Graham's series, and was painted in the kitchen of Koffmann's restaurant in Knightsbridge. 'Pierre Koffmann, whom I am painting, suggested I paint James as part of my series of paintings of great British chefs,' says Henrietta. 'Pierre kindly organised for James and I to meet and have a sitting- (standing!) at his Restaurant Koffmanns in Knightsbridge'.

The couple have been married for seven years and live in The Net Loft in the fishing village of Mousehole, Cornwall, where they now also have a studio in a converted farm barn a few miles outside. She says: 'I moved from London to Mousehole about 12 years ago and bought an ancient net loft overlooking the sea and painted from there. A couple of years later one summer afternoon I popped out for a pint of milk, and there, no more than 100 metres from my front door, was Tim painting en plein air - he was on holiday (he was then living in Esher). I was obviously a painter as I am almost always covered in paint, so he stopped to talk, I took him home!'

Henrietta Graham (16.11.1971) trained at Parsons School of Art in Paris and The Thomas Heatherly School of Fine Art in London. Her work has been seen internationally in group shows and in solo exhibitions in London. Working largely to commission, her portraits are held in private collections.

Tim Hall (8.9.1964) undertook a degree in fine art at Kingston Art College. His portraits and landscapes have been seen in numerous exhibitions in London and Cornwall, winning awards at the Royal Society of Marine Artists Exhibition in 2012 and 2013.

Sandy Nairne, Director, National Portrait Gallery, London, says: 'While the BP Portrait Award is judged anonymously, we were delighted to discover later that two of the portraits which made it to the final 55 selected for the exhibition at the Gallery were painted by artists who happen to be partners.'

In a record-breaking year for entries, three artists have been short-listed for the twenty-fifth anniversary BP Portrait Award 2014 at the National Portrait Gallery, London. They are Thomas Ganter for Man with a Plaid Blanket, David Jon Kassan for Letter to my Mom and Richard Twose for Jean Woods.

One of the world's most prestigious art competitions, the First Prize was increased last year by £5,000 to £30,000 making the prize one of the largest for any global arts competition. The winner also receives a commission to paint a portrait for the National Portrait Gallery's permanent collection worth £5,000, to be agreed between the Gallery and the artist.

The Second Prize winner will receive £10,000 and the Third Prize winner £8,000. While the competition is open to everyone over the age of 18, for the seventh year there will be a BP Young Artist Award of £7,000 for the work of an entrant aged between 18 and 30. This award winner and the other prize-winners will be announced on the evening of Tuesday 24 June 2014. The portraits go on display to the public at the BP Portrait Award 2014 exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 26 June to 21 September 2014.