Bedford artist’s portrait of Miles Jupp selected for Royal Society exhibition

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Miles Jupp by Martyn Burdon

A portrait by Bedford artist, Martyn Burdon, has been selected for the Royal Society of Portrait Painters’ annual show in London.

The portrait is of the actor and comedian, Miles Jupp, host of BBC Radio 4’s News Quiz and known for his roles in Balamory, Rev and The Thick of It.

Miles sat for the portrait, in costume, backstage at the Cambridge Arts Theatre when he was appearing as David Tomlinson – best known for his role as Mr Banks in the original Mary Poppins film – in the new play ‘The Life I Lead’ by the comedy writer James Kettle.

It will be part of the exhibition at Mall Galleries in London from today (6 May) until Saturday 15 of May.

“I’m so thrilled with the picture,” said Miles. “It’s such a lovely thing to be asked to do.

“Although it’s of a man in a bowler hat and wing collar, it is still very modern.

“The level of detail is quite astonishing to me, as well as the fact that it seems very three-dimensional to me and that so much is going on behind my eyes, which isn’t always the case in real life.”

Miles said he was flattered to have been asked to sit for Martyn and that the picture was a reminder of a very happy time in his life.

The artist, Martyn Burdon, whose painting of Sir Lenny Henry has was selected for the National Portrait Gallery’s BP Portrait Award exhibition last year, said: “It was fascinating to talk to Miles about the role during the sitting, and he was very polite and very witty, I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much during a portrait sitting.

“It’s a great pleasure and very flattering to have my work selected for this year’s Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition. It’s an honour, it’s one of the greatest accolades there is for a portrait painter.”

James Kettle, who wrote the one-man play performed by Miles, said: “One of the aims of the play was to yoke together two great comic actors from different generations, and Martyn’s stunning portrait captures exactly that – two geniuses in one body.

“It’s a work that really captures what I hope is the spirit of the piece, playful but also possessed of hidden depths.”

The exhibition opens today (6 May) at Mall Galleries, The Mall, London SW1. It runs until 16 May and tickets are £5. You can view other selected works from the exhibition here.

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