Britain’s most celebrated artists
Darren Baker has established himself as one of the United Kingdom’s most renowned and highly sought-after artists in the 21st century.
Throughout his life, he dedicated himself to perfectionism, meticulously developing techniques that yield a level of realism akin to that of photography.
Some of the notable achievements and recognition in the illustrious career of this distinguished artist include:
- Serving as the Official Portrait Artist to Her Majesty The Queen in 2011.
- Holding the esteemed position of Official Artist for the 2012 Olympic Games.
- Earning the prestigious Fine Art Trade Guild Award for Best Artist in 2010.
- Garnering The Garrick Prize at Christie’s, London.
Over the years, Darren Baker has meticulously cultivated an impressive portfolio of artworks that have found their home in prestigious public and private collections. His art graces distinguished locations such as 10 Downing Street, The House of Lords, St. James’s Palace, and the Bahrain Royal household. Notably, his celebrated works are now highly coveted by art enthusiasts and collectors across the globe.
Painting Her Majesty
2008 was an incredible year for me for two reasons. The first was meeting someone who was to change my life at the Edinburgh Festival, where I was working at the Lloyds HQ on George Street as an artist in residence. One person stood out from the crowd among the stream of art collectors coming in and out – my wife, Abi.
I exhibited with Lloyds at the Windsor Horse Show, where I first talked about the most significant event of my life as an artist. I introduced myself to Joseph Dublin, head of corporate fundraising at the Royal British Legion. They were thinking of ways to celebrate their 90th anniversary and a portrait of their patron. To my surprise, their patron was the Queen, and before I knew what was happening, I was in the middle of a conversation discussing arrangements for sitting at Buckingham Palace.
A commission to paint Her Majesty, not only an incredible person I had the highest honour to meet the most famous woman in the world, is something every portrait artist’s dream, completed and unveiled in 2011.
I researched all the previous portraits of the Queen to draw on my knowledge of historical royal photographs. I visited the room where the sitting was to take place and was struck by how the light filled the room, accentuating the historic regal objects as my background. I focused on the Queen Victoria Memorial, seen through the window.
When the time came, it was an absolute pleasure and a privilege to meet the Queen in person. She was incredibly gracious and charming, and when she found out that my wife Abi had accompanied me and was looking around the Palace, she invited her to join us.
The Queen’s wristwatch is set at 11 a.m. when the nation observes Remembrance, and the spray of five poppies on her brooch highlights the blossom as the ultimate symbol of our debt. I felt it essential to centralise this idea to the portrait as I am acutely aware of Legion’s beautiful work for our servicemen and women.
It was important that the Legion, having commissioned the portrait, would be pleased with it, and I was delighted with their reaction. The National President, Sir John Kiszely, described it as remarkably realistic and commented that it conveyed the special relationship between the Royal British Legion and the British Monarchy.
Princess Anne unveiled the portrait at a commemorative service in Westminster Abbey in the Autumn of 2011, which was a great moment. I must confess that the press coverage made me smile – the general feeling seemed to be a slight surprise to have a realistic portrait that looked like the Queen. Her Majesty was satisfied, which I took as the royal approval seal.
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