‘Extraordinarily rare’ portrait of Princess Diana to be displayed in London

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A rare portrait of Diana Princess of Wales, will be on public display for the first time after being recently sold at auction.

The oil sketch, a preparatory study for a full-length formal portrait of the American artist Nelson Shanks, it was completed in 1994, three years before Diana’s death in Paris.

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The work made headlines in January when it sold at a Sotheby’s auction for $201,600 (about $1 million) – more than ten times its original estimate.

In the work, the late princess, whose eyes are turned down, appears pensive. The sketch was one of several used to capture “authentic expressions” that would eventually be used as source material for the final portrait, according to a press release from Philip Mold & Company, the London-based gallery that showcases the sketch. work at the Masterpiece London Art Fair, from 30th June to 6th July.

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She is pictured wearing Shanks’ original choice for an outfit, a green velvet Catherine Walker dress that she was also photographed for a spread in the June 1997 issue of “Vanity Fair”.

She would later change into a more traditional white blouse and blue skirt for the final portrait. It was hung in the royal residence at Kensington Palace and later in Diana’s family home in Althorp, some 140 kilometers northwest of London.

The portrait took over 30 sessions, performed in Shanks’ London studio. These sessions became an occasion of relief for Diana during a troubled period in her life, which saw her marriage to Prince Charles fall apart. She became friends with the artist and his wife, Leona, and later confided in a letter that “coming to the studio was such a safe haven, so full of love and support.”

Shanks, who died in 2015, was world-renowned for his portraits, having painted people including US President Ronald Reagan, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, opera singer Luciano Pavarotti and Pope John Paul II. His official portrait of US President Bill Clinton hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.

“As far as painted portraits of royalty are concerned, it is extraordinarily rare for an artist to simultaneously capture public and private character,” gallery owner Philip Mold said in the press release.

“Shank’s sketch uniquely combines Diana’s glamor with a poignant moment from her later years. We felt it belonged in a British collection and are delighted to be able to display it in her hometown.”

Source: CNN Brasil

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