Holburne Announces Portrait Award

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The Holburne Museum announces Sally Muir as winner of £5,000 Portrait Prize commission

Sally Muir has won this year’s £5,000 Holburne Portrait Prize commission for the portrait of her son Gabriel entitled Adolescent. This is the fifth of the Holburne’s portrait competitions which runs for artists in the south west every two years. The Holburne’s Prize Panel of judges made their selection from thirty three portraits and comprised painter Rose Hilton, actress Stephanie Cole and gallery owner William Darby.

The judges were unanimous in their decision to award the prize commission to Sally Muir. Rose Hilton said of the panel’s decision that Muir’s portrait, “looks fresh and alive and always will.” When Hilton first saw the portrait her initial thought was, “Here is an artist who knows how to use paint with precision and directness of colour. The end result is a portrait that does not look laboured.”

Stephanie Cole had an emotional response to the portrait: she noted how, “It by-passes the intellect and reveals the sitter, it takes me into the world of the adolescent.” While Will Darby said that he felt Adolescent was, “The most appealing and painterly of portraits which combined the likeness of the sitter and was also interesting to look at.”

Sally Muir graduated from Bath School of Art and Design in 2003. Her work has twice been selected for the Mall Galleries’ Discerning Eye exhibition. Sally is the daughter of the late much-loved raconteur and broadcaster Frank Muir. She will now have the freedom to select a sitter for her commission for the Holburne’s permanent art collection. The only restriction is that the subject has to have made a contribution to the life of the arts in the south west.

Of her portrait of Gabriel Sally Muir notes, “I’ve painted him and his sister all their lives so he is a sort of work in progress. It’s also a portrait of my father’s cardigan, which is quite a bit older than Gabriel. It is probably the article of his which reminds me of him most strongly. It’s a much treasured object and although full of holes, we all fight for possession of it.”

Previous prize commissions include jazz saxophonist Andy Sheppard by Michael Taylor, Glastonbury Festival organiser Michael Eavis by Jason Walker and the Directors of Aardman Nick Park, Peter Lord and David Sproxton by Vincent Brown. The Holburne also has the prize commission by the winning artist of 2008, David Fisher, to look forward to.

Alexander Sturgis, Director of the Holburne said, “We are delighted with the judges’ decision and are already looking forward to the portrait that Sally will paint for us. We are also grateful to all of our supporters who have made this year’s exhibition possible including our sponsors Savills, and support from the Friends of the Holburne, Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institution and all of our volunteer stewards.”

In addition to the Portrait Award two further winners were announced. More than 1,300 votes were cast online with the Bath Chronicle, and in the gallery for The People’s Prize. The online award was made to Philip Munoz for his portrait Claire and the gallery vote was awarded to Andrew Kinsman for his Portrait The Handyman can. All of the thirty three portraits selected for this year’s exhibition including the 2010 winners can be seen at Chapel Row Gallery until Tuesday 12 October 2010.

The Holburne Portrait Prize
18 September to 12 October 2010
Chapel Row Gallery
6 Chapel Row, off Queen Square
Bath BA1 1HN


For further information please contact: Katie Jenkins
Tel 01225 820818 or email k.jenkins@bath.ac.uk

Image credit: Sally Muir, Adolescent, 2010, Oil on wooden board


Associated Event
Man with a Blue Scarf: On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud by Martin Gayford.
Lucian Freud, perhaps the world’s leading portrait painter, spent seven months painting the art critic Martin Gayford. His book describes the process and vividly conveys what it is like to be on the inside of the process of creating a painting by a great artist. Bookshop talk by Martin Gayford with an introduction by Alexander Sturgis, Director of the Holburne Museum.
Thursday 14 October, 7.45pm reception for 8pm talk, Topping & Company, The Paragon, Bath, BA1 5LS Tel 01225 428111
Tickets £7 by telephone / £6 from the shop, including book voucher.

The Holburne Museum is currently closed for a development project of restoration and extension. Our Grade I listed home is being lovingly restored while a striking extension designed by Eric Parry faces Sydney Gardens behind the Museum. Our project is supported by The Heritage Lottery Fund and many other trusts, foundations and donors. We have £2million left to raise before we re-open our doors, free of charge, to the public in May 2011.

When we re-open the Holburne will house a collection of fine and decorative arts, built around the exquisite art collection of Sir William Holburne – assembled in 19th-century Bath. We hold a nationally significant collection of paintings, Renaissance bronzes and maiolica, silver, sculpture, furniture and porcelain, including important and popular works by Brueghel, Gainsborough and Stubbs. In recent years we have also established a national reputation for imaginative, scholarly and popular exhibitions.

The Holburne’s project transforms what we are able to offer all our visitors. It will make us fully accessible to all visitors for the first time, allow more of our collection to be displayed than ever before and enable us to stage far more ambitious exhibitions, offer a garden café, creative learning opportunities for all ages and a family friendly environment.


The Holburne Museum
Great Pulteney Street
Bath BA2 4DB

Published on: 12/10/2010

    • Adolescent by Sally Muir

      Adolescent by Sally Muir

    • Claire by Philip Munoz

Claire by Philip Munoz

  • The handyman can by Andrew Kinsman

    The handyman can by Andrew Kinsman