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Portrait of Ed Sheeran set to hang in the National Portrait Gallery

PUBLISHED: 18:12 02 May 2017 | UPDATED: 18:12 02 May 2017

Ed Sheeran with the portrait by Belfast-based artist Colin Davidson at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Picture: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

Ed Sheeran with the portrait by Belfast-based artist Colin Davidson at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Picture: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

Suffolk songwriting sensation Ed Sheeran is set to join the famous faces hanging in the National Portrait Gallery after being immortalised in a new oil painting.

Ed Sheeran with artist Colin Davidson. Picture: Nick Ansell/PA WireEd Sheeran with artist Colin Davidson. Picture: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

The four foot square painting on linen was created by Belfast-based artist Colin Davidson after a he met the Framlingham star’s dad, who is an art historian and curator himself.
The pair arranged for the artist to pop round to Ed’s home in Suffolk in August 2015, where he spent three hours making drawings from life and taking numerous photos on which to base the final portrait.

Mr Davidson said: “When painting a portrait I am looking for the moment when the person is almost unaware of me being there and I feel I got it with Ed.

“I deliberately didn’t want Ed to perform and that was odd for him.

“But there is a youthful aspect to the portrait but also something experienced beyond his years.

The new portrait of Ed Sheeran which is set to hang in the National Portrait Gallery in London. Picture: National Portrait Gallery /PA WireThe new portrait of Ed Sheeran which is set to hang in the National Portrait Gallery in London. Picture: National Portrait Gallery /PA Wire

“It has been a true privilege to get to know Ed and his family.

“It is my hope that this new portrait offers an alternative insight, one which allows the viewer to glimpse the source of Ed’s unique creativity.”

The London museum already has a photograph of the Suffolk musician on display and has now acquired the new portrait, the first painted of the singer since the start of his professional career.

The finished portrait shows Ed wearing a dark top, looking thoughtfully off to the side of frame.

Davidson, who won the BP Portrait Award Visitors Choice Award in 2012, is best known for his larger-than-life portraits.

He said: “They are all deliberately the same size, the idea is that everyone I paint is an equal and that format allows the face to become something else.

“If you see a painting of a face that is life-size, it never becomes anything else, it is a head.

“If it is smaller or bigger it can become something else.”

Mr Davison has painted another portrait of Ed, which is now in a private collection.

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, director of the National Portrait Gallery, said: “I am very pleased that the National Portrait Gallery has been able to acquire this striking portrait of Ed Sheeran, who is undoubtedly one of today’s most popular and influential musicians and singer-songwriters.”


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