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Williams won the gallery's Herbert Smith Freehills Portrait Award for his egg tempera portrait, Jacqueline with Still Life.

Antony Williams Wins National Portrait Gallery Award 2024

Antony Williams, Jacqueline with Still Life (detail) (2020). Egg tempera on wooden board. 1222 x 668 mm. Courtesy the artist.

England's National Portrait Gallery yesterday announced Antony Williams the winner of its 42nd Portrait Award. The award, which carries a prize of £35,000 (U.S. $45,000), is open to artists around the globe.

The prize's new sponsor, Herbert Smith Freehills, is a global law firm.

Born in 1964, Williams trained at Farnham College and Portsmouth University. He has shown works in the Portrait Award exhibition 11 times, placing third in 2017.

Antony Williams, Jacqueline with Still Life (2020). Egg tempera on wooden board. 1222 x 668 mm.

Antony Williams, Jacqueline with Still Life (2020). Egg tempera on wooden board. 1222 x 668 mm. Courtesy the artist.

His winning portrait, Jacqueline with Still Life (2020), was created using egg tempera—pigments bound with egg yolk—instead of more popular oil paints.

As well as being impressed by Williams 'confidence and mastery of the egg tempera medium', they said the composition 'was nuanced and surprising'.

Second place went to London-based artist Isabella Watling for her painting Zizi (2023), a friend of the artist who wears a dress by Irish fashion designer Simone Rocha. Zizi sat for the portrait while pursuing a Master's degree in textiles.

Isabella Watling, Zizi (2023). Oil on canvas. 2200 x 1190mm.

Isabella Watling, Zizi (2023). Oil on canvas. 2200 x 1190mm. Courtesy the artist.

Also based in London, Catherine Chambers took third prize for her painting Lying, which depicts a friend at home in Lalibela, Ethiopia.

The Young Artist prize, open to artists aged 18 to 30, went to American artist Rebecca Orcutt, who holds an MFA from the New York Academy of Art.

Orcutt said her painting, Before it's Ruined (or an Unrealized Mean Side), depicts 'a specific moment of despair'. A delicate spider web in the background 'represents the things we dread to lose'.

Antony Williams' first prize-winning portrait will be displayed in the National Portrait Gallery's ground-floor History Makers space, which spotlights recent acquisitions to the Gallery's Collection.

A new commission worth £14,000 (U.S. $18,000) will be awarded once every two years to an artist who enters the Portrait Award competition. —[O]

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