An outstanding portrait of HRH The Prince of Wales – who also holds the title Earl of Chester – has gone on display at Chester’s Grosvenor Museum.
The portrait was painted by Tom Wood in 1989, and purchased thanks to the generosity of a number of backers.
Chester has enjoyed a special relationship with the monarchy for more than seven centuries, with the title Earl of Chester having been granted to the heir apparent to the English throne since 1301.
Prince Charles was created Earl of Chester and Prince of Wales in 1958.
He was invested by The Queen with the insignia of his principality and the earldom of Chester at Caernarfon Castle in 1969.
The portrait on display at the Grosvenor Museum shows the prince seated in his garden at Highgrove, with the urn-capped silhouette of the house behind.
Brian Dykes, chairman of the Grosvenor Museum Society, said: “Tom Wood’s portrait of HRH The Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester is now the most striking, interesting and important painting in the museum’s collection, and will have a transformative impact on the visitor experience.
“This magnificent painting will be appreciated by the museum’s visitors for its remarkable artistic quality, for its psychological insight, and for the great interest and importance of the sitter.”
Born in 1948, Prince Charles is the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh.
He is first in line to the British throne and is patron of the Friends of Chester Cathedral. He has also been patron of the Chester Summer Music Festival and colonel-in-chief of the Cheshire Regiment.
Summary – by Peter Boughton, keeper of art at the Grosvenor Museum
Looking directly at the viewer, with slightly parted lips and an attentive and empathetic expression, Prince Charles appears ready to talk with the spectator.
The shallow picture space brings the viewer close to the picture surface, making the spectator’s relationship with the prince unexpectedly intimate.
Large areas of foliage surround the prince’s head, casting dappled light and giving the painting a sense of movement.
On either side of him are two brooding shadowy presences looking away, Janus-like, into the past and future.
A relief of a lion’s head, heraldic symbol of British royalty, decorates the plinth, which bears objects reflecting the prince’s horticultural interests.
About the artist – Tom Wood
The artist Tom Wood was born in 1955 in the African city of Dar es Salaam, in what is now Tanzania.
In 1959 he moved to Yorkshire, where he studied fine art and has spent most of his career. He has exhibited widely at home and abroad, and his work is in many public and corporate collections.
Portraiture is a regular aspect of his practice and he has undertaken many commissions, including work for the National Portrait Gallery, the National Trust and several universities.
He sums up his approach to portraiture as “bring no truths, tell no lies”.
The Grosvenor Museum is open Monday – Saturday (10.30am to 5pm) and Sunday (1pm to 4pm) and admission is free – donations welcome.