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.

This year the competition received a record-breaking 2,377 entries from 71 different countries, up from 1,969 entries from 77 different countries last year. 55 portraits have been selected for the exhibition (National Portrait Gallery, London, 26 June - 21 September 2014).

The Portrait Award is now in its 35th year at the National Portrait Gallery and 25th year of sponsorship by BP. This highly successful annual event aims to encourage artists to focus upon, and develop, the theme of painted portraiture within their work. The BP Portrait Award 2013 had 285,514 visitors.

The competition was judged from original paintings by: Sandy Nairne, Director, National Portrait Gallery (Chair); Sarah Howgate, Contemporary Curator, National Portrait Gallery; Dr Alexander Sturgis, Director of the Holburne Museum, Bath; Joanna Trollope, Writer; Des Violaris, Director, UK Arts and Culture, BP; Jonathan Yeo, Artist

BP TRAVEL AWARD 2013

The BP Travel Award 2013 was won by Bristol-based Dutch Artist Sophie Ploeg. Having studied Art & Architectural History at universities in The Netherlands, Ploeg, 39, won last year for her proposal to explore how fashion and lace was represented in 17th century art, as well as in modern applications. She has visited famous lace-making centres such as Bruges in Belgium and Honiton in Devon, and her final work is inspired by her findings and will be on show as part of the BP Portrait Award 2014 exhibition.

BP PORTRAIT AWARD 2014 AND BP TRAVEL AWARD 2013

26 June - 21 September 2014, National Portrait Gallery, London, Admission free

Supported by BP Exhibition Press View: Wednesday 25 June 10am-12pm.

EXHIBITION TOUR The exhibition will tour to Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens (4 October, 2014 - 16 November, 2014) and The Scottish National Portrait Gallery (28 November - 12 April, 2015.)

CATALOGUE A fully-illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition and features an introductory essay by Julia Donaldson. The BP Portrait Award 2014 book will be published on 25 June 2014, and will include over 55 colour illustrations, price £9.99 (pbk).

FAMILY TRAIL The National Portrait Gallery will be working with children's picture book illustrator Jenni Desmond, whose new book The Zebra Who Ran Too Fast is out early July from Walker Books, to produce drawings for a free family trail and a number of special exhibition labels that will offer a range of creative activities throughout the duration of the BP Portrait Award 2014.

BP PORTRAIT AWARD: NEXT GENERATION is an exciting project opening up free opportunities for 14-19 year-olds to creatively engage with painted portraiture through the BP Portrait Award. For the fifth year, young people will be able to connect with past BP Portrait Award-winning artists, meet other young people interested in portraiture and create their own portraits through a series of programmes including Taster Sessions, Drop-in Drawing, three-day Summer Schools, the second after-hours Young People's Private View, an onsite display showcasing the project, and youth-generated digital content including video interviews with artists and participants. BP Portrait Award: Next Generation has so far engaged over one thousand young people, onsite and regionally. More details of 2014 programmes will be announced in May. www.npg.org.uk/bpnextgeneration

BP PORTRAIT AWARD 2014 - OVERALL FIGURES

Total number of entrants 2,377 (UK Entries 1, 490, International Entries 887)

BP PORTRAIT AWARD 2014 - EXHIBITION FIGURES (55 SELECTED FROM TOTAL ENTRY)

England (33), Spain (5), Scotland (3), USA (3), Netherlands (2), Canada (2), Germany (2), Belgium (1), Poland (1), Romania (1), Serbia (1), Sweden (1)

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