An “exceptionally rare” portrait of Princess Diana is on display in London. The oil painting, titled Diana, Princess of Wales, was completed in 1994 by artist Nelson Shanks in Paris, three years before Diana’s tragic death, and is on display at Philip Mold & Company’s gallery in the British capital until July 6.
“The painting completed by artist Nelson Shanks in 1994, three years before Diana’s death”
In the artwork, the princess is shown in a green velvet halterneck Catherine Walker gown, which she wore ahead of her famous Vanity Fair magazine shoot in 1997. Diana later changed into a traditional white blouse and blue skirt for the last picture. Unusually for a royal portrait, it captures the princess looking thoughtfully at the ground, with a single earring providing a sparkle of light.
When it comes to royal painted portraits, it’s exceedingly rare for an artist to capture both the public and private character at the same time, gallery owner Philip Mold said in a press release, per CNN. Shank’s sketch uniquely fuses Diana’s glamor with the poignant pathos of her final years. We felt it belonged in a British collection and are delighted to be able to display it in her hometown.
The rare portrait depiction of the Princess of Wales will be added to the gallery as part of the exhibition at Masterpiece Art Fair 2022 The home at Kensington Palace that Diana shared with sons Prince William, 40, and Prince Harry, 37, before later splitting moved to their family home at Althorp House in Northamptonshire, 75 miles north of London. In January, the portrait also sold for more than 10 times the projected retail price, fetching $201,600 at a prestigious London auction house, Sotheby’s.
The Princess sat at Shanks Studio in London for more than 30 sessions to take the picture, which served as a preparatory study for a full-length formal portrait. During this time she developed a close friendship with both the artist and his wife Leona, later writing in a letter: I miss you and Leona in London, as according to Sothebys it was a safe haven to come to the studio, so full support and love. The picture was also painted at a pivotal moment in Diana’s private life, when rumors of extramarital affairs and leaked phone calls were slowly beginning to destroy her marriage to Prince Charles.
On Friday, which would have been Princess Diana’s 61st birthday, her two sons continued their legacy by congratulating the recent recipients of the Diana Award, a global philanthropic honor named after their mother. Prince William wrote a letter to the awardees thanking 180 young philanthropists for helping to keep their voices alive.
Prince Harry appeared virtually at the ceremony and said in the video address: “Today we were reflecting on my mother’s 61st birthday. And this year, 25 years have passed since her death. There hasn’t been a day in the last two and a half decades that I haven’t thought about the mark she left not just on me and my brother, but on all of our lives. “I see her legacy in all of you,” he continued. I see her legacy in a Diana Award community that spans generations. I see her legacy every time I meet with families, young people and children from all corners of the world. And I see my mother’s legacy as I look at my own children every day.
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