Portrait of Ian Rankin gifted to Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Ian Rankin The portrait was based on a photograph of the author relaxing in his local pub

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A painting of crime-writer Ian Rankin has been unveiled at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

The image of the Rebus creator was commissioned by friend and fellow author Alexander McCall Smith.

Edinburgh-based artist Guy Kinder painted the likeness after spending a day photographing Rankin.

The portrait will be added to a collection at the Edinburgh gallery which celebrates some of Scotland's greatest writers.

The acclaimed author revealed that he was initially unsure about going ahead with the painting.

He said: "I'd never done it before, usually when I've been painted in the past it's been a caricature for a newspaper."

Rankin said he was worried how he would look, saying: "I think it's caught me just before a haircut."

Local photographs

Kinder photographed Rankin in some of the author's favourite places.

The photograph which was used for the painting was taken toward the end of the day and features the author in one of his favourite pubs in the city, the Oxford bar, a shot which found Rankin forgetting about the camera.

"In the portrait my pint is just out out shot, I'm staring off into space thinking when I am I going to get my hand back on my pint," he said.

The portrait is the latest addition to a long-line of paintings which celebrate some of Scotland's greatest writers including Robert Burns, Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson, a fact which was not lost on the crime writer.

He said: "When I was a student I used to come to the gallery, I remember when they got the Muriel Spark painting in when I was doing my thesis on her at university."

The painting was commissioned by McCall Smith, who has previously used Rankin as a character in his own novels.

"It's nice that he's supporting a local artist and hopefully it'll bring a wee fillip to the portrait gallery and a few folk might wander in that wouldn't wander in otherwise," Rankin said.

The portrait can be found inside gallery 12 where it will hang for summer months before finding its permanent home inside the gallery's canteen.

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