Britain’s most celebrated artists
A perfectionist who has, for most of his life, been developing techniques to create a form of realism comparable to photography.
This master artists accolades include;
- Official Portrait artist to Her Majesty The Queen 2011
- Official artist to the 2012 Olympic games
- Fine Art Trade Guild Award Winner – Best Artist 2010
- Winner of The Garrick Prize at Christies, London.
Over the years, Darren Baker has produced an impressive portfolio of art, which grace many prestigious public and private collections, including 10 Downing Street, The House of Lords, St James’s Palace and the Bahrain Royal household. His celebrated works are becoming increasingly sought after by art collectors around the world.
Painting Her Majesty
2008 was an incredible year for me for two reasons. The first of these 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 artist in residence. Amongst the stream of art collectors coming in and out, there was one person who stood out from the crowd – my wife Abi.
I exhibited with Lloyds at the Windsor Horse Show, as this was where I had my first conversation about the biggest event of my life as an artist. I introduced myself to Joseph Dublin who was 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 was being discussed. To my surprise their patron was the Queen, and before I knew what was happening I was in the middle of a conversation discussing arrangement for sitting at Buckingham Palace.
A commission to paint Her Majesty, not only an incredible person, I had the great opportunity to meet, the most famous woman in the world, is something every portrait artist dream of. I was completely staggered even to this day, after the portrait had been painted and unveiled in 2011, to be the greatest honour of my career.
I had research all the previous portraits of the Queen to drew on my knowledge of historical royal portraits. I made several visits to the room where the sitting was to take place and was struck by the way the light filled the room creating an accentuated the historic regal objects as my background. My attention was also caught by the Queen Victoria Memorial which could be seen through the window.
When the time came, it was an absolute pleasure and a privilege to meet the Queen in person. She was extremely gracious and charming, and when she found out that my wife Abi had accompanied me and was looking round the Palace, she invited her to join us.
The Queen’s wristwatch is set at 11am, the moment at which the nation observes Remembrance and the spray of five poppies on her brooch highlights the poppy as the ultimate symbol of the debt we owe. I felt it was essential to make this idea central to the portrait as I am acutely aware of the wonderful work the legion does for our service men and women.
It was obviously important to me 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.
The portrait was unveiled at a commemorative service in Westminster Abbey in Autumn 2011 by Princess Anne which was a great moment. I have to confess that the press coverage made me smile – the general feeling seemed to be slight surprise to have a realistic portrait that actually looked like the Queen. Apparently Her Majesty was satisfied which I have taken as the royal seal of approval.
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