The artist began this portrait of J. K. Rowling in early 2004, when he paid several visits to the writer's Scottish home. Pearson Wright observed his subject, made sketches, sometimes while the author was at work, and took photographs for reference. Rowling is seated at a table, suggestive of the setting where the author famously wrote her first novel and where she occasionally still writes. The narrative alludes to Rowling's public and private self both as a writer, who has made an enormous impact on children's imaginations the world over, and as a mother – the eggs represent her own three children. Rowling's otherworldly youthful presence in a surreal and disconcertingly distorted space calls to mind another children's classic, Alice in Wonderland. The painted sky beyond the window suggests a passage of time and illusionism that resonates with the Potter stories. In creating a three dimensional scene the artist has been influenced by eighteenth-century toy theatres and the boxes of Joseph Cornell.
Where to see this painting?
National Portrait Gallery, London
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