Royal Portrait 2017: Venus and Serena Williams ‘viewed as more vivacious’

Williams (bottom left) was the oldest of all the women’s singles champions, and won Wimbledon for the third time in 2018 The portrait of Venus and Serena Williams as King Richard III portrays one…

Royal Portrait 2017: Venus and Serena Williams 'viewed as more vivacious'

Williams (bottom left) was the oldest of all the women’s singles champions, and won Wimbledon for the third time in 2018

The portrait of Venus and Serena Williams as King Richard III portrays one of the two as more fully formed than the other, says BBC sports art analyst Stephen Eccles.

The heads were created by Peter Huyton in 1984 and used as the silhouettes for the cover of Britain’s second edition of its biennial book about the country’s monarchs.

Serena Williams was only 15 when she met Richard III when she went to meet and play tennis at Highclere Castle, where the hit television drama is filmed.

“For such a straight-talking man, Richard has an almost petulant side to him,” Eccles told BBC Radio 5 live.

“Serena’s face, though petulant in her own way, is far more invitingly benevolent. It suggests a royal mistress who is very much in charge.

“You can imagine that she could look after Richard, making sure he has what he needs, how he needs it. That stems from childhood.

“But where Richard’s father Richard the King is completely in control, with an enormous arsenal and vast resources to go with it, for Serena it’s relatively a middle-class existence.

“She’s raised largely on American soap operas – Dynasty, Dallas, Boston Legal – and is used to being in control of her own destiny.”

The portrait features on the cover of this year’s biennial Royal Portrait, which tells the story of Britain’s Kings and Queens from around the world.

William Shakespeare immortalised Richard III in his play Henry VI Part One, where he portrayed the king as a cheeky and cunning schemer.

The portrait is sold only very rarely, being produced to coincide with the Queen’s 70th birthday in 2002 and the 50th anniversary of the throne in 2015.

Will the Trump version be so good?

The Donald Trump portrait, painted by Bryan Dunn at the annual Central Saint Martins Awards

Bryan Dunn, the man responsible for the portrait of Donald Trump, has painted portraits of Nelson Mandela, Simone de Beauvoir and Billy Connolly.

But he told BBC Radio 5 live that the Trump portrait was “the hardest” to paint in the entire history of the series.

“I looked at the original art of King Richard III and also the art of King George III – they are both very recognisable figures,” he said.

“That was the thing that made me think: ‘OK, there’s going to be a challenge ahead in getting this one right.’”

But Dunn revealed he took inspiration from portraits of Winston Churchill, Winston W Rose and Disney’s Cinderella when creating the Trump painting.

Dunn described the decision to do the painting as “brilliant, in that it gives a brand new response to the Brexit vote”.

It also has political undertones, as the original portrait was commissioned at a time when Trump was still a rumour, before being dismissed.

The artist was invited to Manchester University to have a lunch with Trump before he became an influential figure in politics.

“This was a fantastic opportunity to see him up close,” he said.

“He was there at lunch with the senior management of the university, who turned out to be impressed by him. They all agreed that he had a good sense of humour.”

The painting was commissioned by Cambridge University, but it is believed the year is likely to be 1944, in the period that Trump was first enrolled at the university.

Dunn added that Trump had “very warm and friendly” interaction with him.

‘It was an honour to give the painting to him’

The portrait of Bill Clinton, by Tracey Emin

Yvonne Southwick-Poulton, from the Manchester University Museum of Art, described the meeting as “lovely”, saying: “Trump was very kind to us and said that they had enjoyed a very good lunch.

“We said to Trump that the new Royal Portrait had been made by our contemporary artist Bill Clinton, and he said that we should pass on his best wishes to him and his wife Hillary.”

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