Friday, 11 January 2013

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge View Kate's First Portrait At NPG

The first official portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge was unveiled this morning at the National Portrait Gallery.

DukeandDuchessofCambridge.org

The National Portrait Gallery's painting of it's patron was commissioned with the support of Sir Hugh Leggatt, in memory of Sir Denis Mahon, through the Art Fund. Kate was involved in the selection process, from which artist Paul Emsley, the 2007 winner of the Gallery's BP Portrait Award competition, was chosen by Director Sandy Nairne to paint her official portrait. The identity of the artist was kept under wraps with the media speculating Nicky Philips was the artist chosen.

Paul Emsley is incredibly talented and was a splendid choice. Below we look at his portrait of Nelson Mandela.

Paul Emsley

Kate attended two sittings for the portrait in May 2012 and June 2012 at the artist's studio and Kensington Palace. The Duchess wore a bottle-green pussybow blouse and her sapphire and diamond earrings (thought to have been Princess Diana's) for the portrait. Speaking about the portrait Mr Emsley said:

'The Duchess explained that she would like to be portrayed naturally - her natural self - as opposed to her official self. She struck me as an enormously open and generous and a very warm person. After initially feeling it would be an unsmiling portrait I think it was the right choice in the end to have her smiling - that is really who she is'.

Emsley made use of a series of photographs produced during the sittings. Following three and a half months painting the portrait was presented to the Gallery's Trustees at their November 2012 meeting. You can watch a video here of the artist discussing painting Kate. The video includes a look at the photographs he used.



One of the photographs Paul Emsley took of Kate (with thanks to My Small Obsessions). I love this shot, Kate looks incredibly pretty.



One can purchase a Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge Postcard at the NPG's online shop for £0.70 or a set of six for £3.50. 

National Portrait Gallery

William and Kate arrived at the National Portrait Gallery this morning to view the portrait and the Duchess was reportedly thrilled with the results "I thought it was brilliant, Amazing, Absolutely brilliant". William described the portrait of his wife as "beautiful".

DukeandDuchessofCambridge.org

It was an unexpected surprise to see the couple this morning. Kate looked well, I do hope she is continuing to recover from hyperemesis gravidarum. Wednesday night the couple attended Cirque Du Soleil's KOOZA at the Royal Albert Hall with the Middleton family and friends to celebrate Kate's birthday and seeing the portrait was no doubt a late birthday treat for the Duchess. After the portrait unveiling there was a private breakfast reception attended by the Middleton family.

PA

William and Kate chatted with Paul Emsley inside the gallery.

PA

Kate wore her Whistles Sofie Rae Dress. The €105 burgundy pure silk dress has a deep v-neckline and a floating midi skirt. The dress was also worn by Downton Abbey actress Jessica Brown-Findlay. Kate teamed the dress with a black belt.


Kate has worn the dress a number of times before most recently during her visit to Newcastle where she wore the burgundy dress underneath her aubergine coat.



The Duchess accessorised with her Asprey Pendant and Kiki McDonough green amethyst gold and diamond earrings. Kate also carried a black suede clutch and wore her Episode 'Angel' black pumps.

PA

Kate's portrait will be on display from 2.30 pm this afternoon until September. Well worth a viewing if any of you happen to be in London. I quite like the fact Kate opted for a natural portrait despite the fact I would have loved to have seen her wearing a tiara or perhaps her wedding dress? Dark backgrounds are a signature of Paul Emsley's which worked well in terms of capturing the Duchess in the manner she requested but the general consensus seems to be it made her look older and didn't quite capture her sparkle and vitality?

Sky's Paul Harrison
What do you all think of Kate's first portrait? 

158 comments:

  1. Dear Charlotte,

    You are fast as always! Thank you for the post! It was really lovely to see the pair together again, although Kate is still looking pale and tired. I hope she is getting better. As for the portrait well I think she looks older in it, maybe the next will turn out her as she is.:-))

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  2. Jean from Lancs.11 January 2013 at 11:54

    I suppose it is like her in so far as her features are in the right plsce,but it is not the real Catherine---it misses her sparkle; her joie de vivre or whatever you want to call it.
    The photos of the Picture and those of her today show only too well what I am trying to say

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    1. Jean from Lancs.11 January 2013 at 12:11

      Should have been "in the right place"--sorry

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    2. Very well said, my thoughts too. She is much more "fresh" in flesh and bones and the smile on the portrait seems a bit wicked which is not hers at all. The tenebrism concept of the portrait is artistic but brings some wird geen shade in the central zone of her face which is in opposite to her naturally pink rose skin.
      Duchess looked great, her hair and outfit, I wanted to see this dress from the Newcastle visit so I´m happy and I think she paired it well with that wider black belt.

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    3. You said exactly what I feel about it. The hair colour is slightly too red to me, verging one (God forbid!) Sarah Ferguson shade.

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    4. Mia, you hit the nail on the head...there seems to be something unpure about her smile and facial expression...almost like a social climber who finally reached her mark - and we all know that's not Duchess Kate.

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    5. I agree with you, Jean. My thoughts exactly.

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  3. It's a great painting, but she looks a bit older.. like 40 or even 45 years old at this portrait.. :(

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  4. I totally agree with Jean. I think Kate's portrait looks like an older version of her, as if she's in her mid 30s already. Totally missing her sparkle. She is so much prettier than the portrait!

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  5. I think the painting is... nice. But she does look older. There's no... life or glow to her skin. I'm no means an artist but I'm sure there is some way to get that glow to her skin across in a painting. And of course Catherine is going to say it's "amazing" and "brilliant." She just has always presented herself with so much grace, class, humility, and warmth that I can't imagine her telling her true feelings about the painting so as not to hurt the artist.

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  6. Laura from italy11 January 2013 at 12:12

    I liked the portrait but maybe the duchess should have dress another colour in the portrait due to the dark landscape.for example the today dress! I think that it would have been a beautiful contrast! Do you agree? I admit my curiosity but i cannot see any bump.. Maybe it's too early?? Congratulations to charlotte for the quickest update!!!

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    1. Yes those green colours r sooo dull. And no bump? R the conspiracy theories true. Nicole France

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    2. I absolutely agree with you! I know Kate loves blue (I myself love blue + navy) but from browsing some of the work of Paul Emsley, he likes a dark background, just as Charlotte mentioned, so a more lively color clothing would have been a lovely contrast to the portrait.

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    3. Ladies (who have obviously never been pregnant!) ... there is no "bump" at 12 weeks in a first pregnancy! First trimester weight gain is (ideally) 1 to 4.5 pounds (or less than 2 kilos).

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  7. Is it me or is her facial expression more of a smirk than her shy smile?

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  8. I'm not sure about the painting! It's a pretty unflattering expression she is making. She looks pissed off or something...She's looking great in person though! I love the Whistles dress.

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  9. When I first saw examples of the man rumored to commission the portrait, I had a feeling it would end up like this. While he's an amazing artist, the detail in his paintings make people look much older & very tired, which I think is what happened with Kate. Perhaps if she was doing her signature smile, it would have turned out better. Kate looked absolutely beautiful at the unveiling though, it would be nice to see a picture of her standing next to her portrait

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    1. Jean from Lancs.11 January 2013 at 14:34

      The "Daily Express" on line has done just that and it really shows what is wrong with the portrait.

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    2. Here's the link to the mentioned article:
      http://beta.dailyexpress.co.uk/news/royal/370158/Is-Kate-s-portrait-a-true-likeness-of-the-Duchess

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  10. I found your blog and am so excited. I love all things Catherine and William and am a long time royal fan.

    While this portrait probably took untold hours to paint and is technically good in some aspects, I have to agree it doesn't capture her sparkle or even her shiny hair. She also looks a lot older than her age. She is such a young, vital woman that I am a little disappointed in the outcome of this. I like the potrait of Princes William and Harry in uniform much better.

    XO,

    Sheila

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  11. Thanks for the great post Charlotte!

    Unfortunately I have to agreee with my predecessor: the painting is great but she looks too old. She doesn't look pretty as she always does. So disappointing..A paper write she looks mature...no way..It seems like that she has grey hair! :-/

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  12. When I think of Catherine I think.of a bigger smile...I don't see this as a very natural painting of her bc to me, naturally, she is smiling. and I agree with the others, it makes her look older. I hate that I don't like it :(
    She and William looked wonderful this morning though.

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  13. I'm sorry but I hate the portrait! It ages her significantly and doesn't do her good-looking face any justice! :(

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  14. When I think of Catherine I think.of a bigger smile...I don't see this as a very natural painting of her bc to me, naturally, she is smiling. and I agree with the others, it makes her look older. I hate that I don't like it :(
    She and William looked wonderful this morning though.

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  15. Theresa, from Paris11 January 2013 at 12:52

    What a lovely surprise... I find the Duchess looks splendid. Really well and happy. It seems she is coping well with HG as she went to the show in the evening as well. I love her hair that way, and she is beautifully dressed. Just perfect !

    As to the portrait : it ages her a lot. What a pity ! And why keep so many shadows under her eyes ? She looks ten years older. The mouth is a bit off for me, a pinched smile. But I like the hair and the sparkle in the eyes. I've seen worst paintings so I understand she's pleased.

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  17. "After initially feeling it would be an unsmiling portrait I think it was the right choice in the end to have her smiling - that is really who she is"

    Smiling? More like a grimace!

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    1. Jane from New England11 January 2013 at 18:05

      Please see my comments elsewhere. My husband is an expert on these things. An accomplished portraitist and fine artist. This is exactly right. A great painting.

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  18. Hi charlotte. I dont like this portrait at all Im afraid. Its not like the Duchess in real life! She is young & bubbly and this does not portray that. She does look in her mid 40's. But she looks beautiful today at the Gallery with William. No baby bump at all.. but then she is naturally slim. Glad to see her looking well and happy. It must be an exciting time for them.

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  19. Jenna from Germany11 January 2013 at 12:59

    Thank you Charlotte for this great post!
    I have to admit that I didn't really like the painting when I first saw it, I thought she looked much older and a little bit sad, but I like it better every time I look at it (although she still looks older than she is, and I agree with Jean that it misses her sparkle, or joy).

    I was really glad to see her out and about, she really looked happy!

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    1. Jane from New England11 January 2013 at 18:03

      You are very perceptive, Jenna. As I have mentioned elsewhere in this blog, my husband is a portrait painter and fine artist. What you have picked up is exactly what a portrait is supposed to "do". The purpose of a portrait, like other paintings viewed in museums is to draw the viewer in and to go deeper into the soul or subject. This is what this very good portraitist has accomplished. I think everyone here who does not like this will feel differently over time, especially if they are able to get to the museum and view it in person. That's another thing. Seeing this portrait on the internet or in a photo is entirely different from viewing the real thing. If you live where you can get to the museum and see it, by all means GO!!!

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    2. I see what you mean, Jane. I had seen Van Gogh reproductions, but when I saw the real things in Holland I just stood there and cried, overwhelmed.
      This portrait may be catching a thoughtful Catherine, not just a "model" with a lot of hair.
      It does make her look older; maybe she IS older in her mind.
      But one thing I would definitely change, what others have called "the smirk." This is probably only one expression which Catherine has. Why not choose a nicer expression to immortalize?

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    3. @Jane --

      I can appreciate what you say about going "deeper into the soul", but perhaps for some people the portrait didn't quite CAPTURE her soul.

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  20. I agree Kate looks a lot older in this portrait! It's a bit "mona lisa" in that she isn't really smiling to me and looks a bit annoyed around the mouth...

    Amazing that she can pop to the shops, travel, circus and this with HG - must be feeling much better.

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  21. Wow, I don't think it looks anything like her at all - such a great job with Mandela but hers - she definitely looks older; yuk. Great job on this blog - my first go-to each morning. Thank you.

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  22. I feel terrible saying this, but I think it's awful. It doesn't do Kate justice at all- she is gorgeous in real life & this painting looks like her in 20 years time.

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  23. I think the portrait is great, although I know that not everyone will be a fan of Paul Emsley's style. I think Kate must still be having some morning sickness problems as she looks quite tired and has obviously lost quite a bit of weight. She's a bit of plae shadow from the glowing Duchess who visited her old prep school a few weeks ago - hope she feels better soon. Annie, UK

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  24. Emily J. small town IL, USA11 January 2013 at 13:11

    Honestly I do not like the portrait so much. it is not her smile, she has such a lovely smile and it does not do her justice. Oh well, maybe her next portrait well look better.

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    1. Jane from New England11 January 2013 at 17:58

      My husband is a portrait artist -- a painter, a fine artist. In a true painted portrait, you do not paint the person with their teeth showing. Why? Two reasons: the aesthetic is lost; teeth are extremely difficult to paint and come out looking "fake". I think this portrayal for a first portrait is brilliant. She looks pleasant, serene and composed. This piece will be seen in an art gallery setting for years and generations to come. That is altogether different than a snap shot or photograph for a wedding or family pictures. This is a "perfect" portrait.

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    2. That is great that YOUR opinion is that it is great. But Not everyone else will agree with you. Please stop forcing it.

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    3. I don't need clarification on this but I am wondering if the reason I and others struggle with liking the portrait is because it is not to scale and its size makes it seem unnatural.

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    4. Jane from New England12 January 2013 at 00:03

      Of course your opinions are yours, and I don't mean to rub anyone the wrong way and I apologize if I do, but at the risk of that, let me just add this one more thing and I promise to not run this into a hole in the ground after that! I feel I want to say this because some are asking and commenting. This is good! Let me just say from having viewed hundreds and thousands -- really -- of portraits in major galleries over the last several decades, I am sure if you stood in front of this, whether you really like the expression (I happen to like it, but that's not the point). If you were standing in front of it there are lots of subtleties you would see. There "is" a light in her eyes and the shadows are magnificent. You can get a little better idea of it at this web site if you are interested. http://www.dukeandduchessofcambridge.org/news-and-diary/first-portrait-of-the-duchess-of-cambridge-unveiled-the-national-portrait-gallery

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    5. Sarah from Calif.12 January 2013 at 03:23

      Jane I so agree. Being able to stand in front of a picture in person really does the art and the artist the proper justice it is due. I remember going to Chicago at the museum of art and just staring at the pictures and portraits. One time in San Fransisco I got a bit to close to one of the pictures. I wanted to capture every stroke of the artist. I kind of got in trouble from one of the gaurds. Oops

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  25. Brutto ritratto! what a smiling, is it the Kate's one? no, no, NO!

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  26. What a lovely surprise this week! Yes, she has a bit of wrinkle around the eyes, but I'm disappointed that that's what people are focusing on. Paintings aren't meant to be perfect portrayals, that's the job of a photograph. Many royal portraits aren't 'realistic', though I think this one is. I think he did a wonderful job. The color and softness are wonderful, and the essence of the Duchess is captured.

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    1. I will say that the more I look at it, the sleeves are beginning to bother me. The photo of her is a tank top, and you can tell he originally had her sleeveless the decided to add sleeves, but they are separated from her original sleeve-line.

      I still think that there is a Kate-essence as far as the soft glow and usual glorious air.

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    2. Jane from New England11 January 2013 at 18:09

      Hoorah! I agree with you! I'm glad you like it. As I've said elsewhere, this is the way a portrait is supposed to be and I'm sure if we could all see it in person, it would take our breath away! It is very much larger than life, and just awesome. Catherine chose well when she chose this portraitist.

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    3. Yes, we are in the minority lol! I agree with you- I think if we were to see it in person and be able to take in it's size, texture, and angles- it wold take our breath away! Catherine indeed chose well.

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    4. IMO, the portrait looks better WITH sleeves so that the focus is on her face. Just my impression.

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    5. Jane from New England12 January 2013 at 00:09

      Yes! I think the size is a great feature. It "would" blow you away. I just know it!! And I agree, royalfan, the sleeves, in my opinion, make it more timeless. This will be looked at for generations and centuries to come. I think the impression will only improve with time! If I were in London, I would race down there to see it!! :-)

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    6. Oh yes, I definitely agree that the the sleeves were a good choice, it's just the seam connection that bothers me. It isn't glaring, but it does look like she's wearing a long-sleeve shirt under a blous-y vest or something. Not one whole blouse, if that makes sense.

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  27. Although the painting is technically brilliant, I don't like it. It looks like the Duchess is pouting, not smiling. She looks pale and older than she is.
    I thought the object is to capture the essence of a person, for me, Kate's essence is missing: warmth, smile, the twinkle in her eye. Perhaps it is apparent when viewing in person.
    I hope she likes it, though.

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  28. I, too, am disappointed with the portrait. I don't think it does HRH justice. She looks somewhat like an apparition, and an older one at that.

    Where is her youth? Her sprightliness??

    Silvia

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  29. Actually I find the portrait accurately captures a very typical expression of Kate when she is not smiling or speaking. It's almost a pursed lips expression, I feel it's a habit of her which is most pronounced if you watched back the video clips of her wedding, during the vow exchange moments. She has this habit of pursing her lips together at that time, almost like sucking a plum in her mouth. The lips in the portrait are really quite accurate of that persona.

    BTW is she really pregnant? There's no baby bump at all whatsoever.

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    1. Schools teach too much about sex and not enough about biology. Few women look huge until the third trimester.

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  30. I'm in agreement with the majority. My first impression was that the portrait's eyes are dark and empty, her nose seems inaccurate, and that is by far a "natural" expression. She simply never looks like this. No essence of Kate here. We do have a glimpse at what she will look like in about 20 or more years. Further - judging by the expression on Kate's face in the pictures from today, she feels the same way, and is just being polite. I'm certain that the conversation behind closed doors went something like, "You know that looks nothing like me. At least it's only there til September." And I'm also certain William would agree.

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  31. Marie-Pierre DEMANUELE France11 January 2013 at 14:15

    Je n'aime pas du tout ce portrait. Catherine est brillante, elle irradie, elle a un magnifique sourire. Ce portrait ne lui ressemble pas du tout. De plus, je le trouve trop sombre. Ses cheveux si magnifiques, son regard habituellement étincelant et son sourire lumineux ne sont pas rendus sur cette toile. Dommage. J'espère qu'un futur portrait lui rendra hommage.

    Marie-Pierre, une grand admiratrice de la Duchesse de Cambridge
    France

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  32. Marie-Pierre DEMANUELE France11 January 2013 at 14:23

    Je n'aime pas du tout ce portrait. Catherine est brillante, elle irradie et elle a un merveilleux sourire. Elle a des cheveux magnifiques, des yeux "étincelants", elle représente la jeune femme moderne. Cette toile est trop sombre et ne lui rend pas justice. J'espère que dans un proche avenir, peut-être un autre peintre lui rendra justice.
    Marie-Pierre, une fervente admiratrice de la Duchesse de Cambridge.

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  33. A portrait is not a photo. Most photos taken of Kate when she is NOT at an engagement (or otherwise 'in public') do not show her smiling her big smile almost constantly.

    Kate has a degree in Art History and should know something about art. Most importantly, since Kate herself wanted to be portrayed 'naturally, her natural self, as opposed to her official self' - I think this is the artist's interpretation of what Kate requested.

    However, I think the portrait shows someone trying to suppress a smile. I would have preferred a portrait with just a hint of a smile.

    So overall, I think the portrait is fine. Not great, not bad, just fine.

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  34. its look like the duchess potrait is 40 years old but i like the coat and the dress

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  35. Kate looks very pretty though tired with William by her side. She has that radiance, that smile that cannot be found in that portrait. It's true that it doesnt do her justice. I am so disappointed, sorry!

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  36. Sarah from Calif.11 January 2013 at 14:39

    I think to see the portrait in person would do it more justice. You can see the artist brush strokes better then. You would be able to see the changes in highlighting and shading and be able to appreciate the artist talent more.
    Oh well I was hoping for a more formal portrait,
    It is good to see Kate out hopefully she is starting to feel a bit better.

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  37. I would love to have it have been an off-center view with her laughing - that is my favorite image of her. Probably not serious/regal enough, but agreed with others that she seems older and a bit smirky.

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  38. i was so looking forward to the portrait, but... i don't like it! it makes her looks so much older: late middle-aged, tired and lackluster.

    ironically, in the video emsley talks about how good photos portraits are and how hard it is to go beyond them, and the photos emsley said were his prime models looked lovely - sweet, pretty, fresh. kate and npg should have stuck with the photos and skipped the painting!

    but there's good news: it was so nice to see kate and wills, and the whole family! fingers crossed that kate is feeling well again, and will be doing events again.

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  39. LKC in South Carolina11 January 2013 at 14:49

    I was dismayed to him the artist say he slightly altered the color of her eyes to better match the blouse and earrings. Her eyes are very pretty and I think altering them was a mistake.

    And I agree - that is not Kate's smile! Disappointed in the painting, but glad she was well enough to be able to attend the unveiling.

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  40. My impressions: I did not like the painting. The expression on the portrait of Kate made ​​her look 50 years old. Ok, painting is exquisite and deserves its merits, but in general, I did not like. Another thing, I do not think Kate's face fuller and body keep slim. For what matters is not the size of the belly, but the uterine height, then it should be with the highest belly until at least near the navel. I found it weird, but I know that every body is different from one to another, so let's wait a little longer to see the changes in the body of Kate.

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  41. The painting is ok. I've seen photos of it taken at an angle and it looks better so I think that the flashes on all the cameras is washing it out. That said, I've also seen the YouTube video where the artist says that he changed the colour of her eyes to tone in with the blue tones of the picture. No wonder they look odd - they are not pale, they are a lovely green.

    But it would never look exactly like Catherine - no painting ever does.

    I've also read that it looks better "in the flesh" so to speak rather than the pictures we've seen. I'm going to try and see it but probably not for a couple of months. Would be great if someone gets there sooner and reports back.

    Catherine herself looks beautiful - the colour of the dress suits her and the shape and movement of the dress is lovely.

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  42. I think the painting is a horror and commend the Cambridges for not stomping out and demanding a do-over. The expression is definitely like one Kate employs, but the proportions are incorrect and the painting makes her look less amused and slightly diabolical. No. No. No.

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    1. The Cambridge's did not pay for this. It was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery.

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  43. It's a beatiful work of art but I'd be horrified if I was made to look 15 years older.

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  45. I hate it!!!! It don't look like her.

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  46. I would not call her mouth a smile. I also think she has beautiful features and this portrait does not do justice to her nose.

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  47. Oh no... the painting is awful. She looks like she 40! And the shirt with the bow on the neck it's ageing too...
    But the Duchess is great in the pictures of the Gallery! The red dress is wonderful, finnaly she's wearing a v-neckline, it is so fresh and youthful! :) Burgundy is indeed the colour of this fall/winter. She looks great, although she seems to me a little tired and thinner.
    Hugs!
    Z.

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  48. Kate is a stunner. Her smile is infectious and comforting at the same time. To me, there is an historical inaccuracy in this First Official Portrait. To me, it denies future generations a true sense of her happiness and generosity of spirit that we are so privileged to experience today.

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  49. The picture of Catherine used by the artist looks so lovely, how did this portrait end up the way it did?! Why so many lines/shadows under her eyes! While I watched the video on their website I compared the portrait to pictures of her on the sidebar and I feel like the red is appropriate. Her hair in the sun has coppery red in it. Really her hair looks beautiful in the portrait. But the eyes and pursed lips, eek. I hope she genuinely likes it and wasn't privately horrified lol.

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  50. Well Charlotte you are one quick lady. Thank you for bring us this great post this morning. I have to agree with most of the post here. I portrait of our beautiful Duchess does nothing for her. It does not show her beautiful smile nor the sparkle in her eyes. I wish the painter would have done a more happy Duchess. But in the end the only one's that it matters is the beautiful Duchess & Prince William. Thye both seem to like it. I like William's words "Beautiful, just beautiful."

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  51. This post made my day :)Kate is looking gorgeous in the solo picture. I don't like the portrait very much, it makes her look older :-/
    Charlotte is there a video to the event?thanks chica!xoxo

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  52. I guess I'm disappointed as well. While the portrait is technically wonderful, I think it makes Kate look awful.He has given her small puffy eyes and chubby cheeks. The actual pictures that were taken of her beforehand look like the "real" Kate, but the portrait seems to add too much age and puffiness. Maybe the portrait looks better in person?? I hope so!

    On the other hand, it was great to see William and Kate out and about again. I love Kate's dress, especially with the addition of the black belt. I'm wondering, though, when she might stop wearing the 4-inch heels? And what kind of shoes she may choose to wear during her second and third trimesters?

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  53. I hate it. An art student could've done better than that.

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  54. Also, the dress she wore today is very pretty! I was hoping to see it when she first wore it so I'm glad she brought it back!

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  55. Very sad to say, I was disappointed with the portrait. I would have loved to see her with a full smile, not pursed lips. The eyes make her look older because of the circles and the deadness in the eyes, they just seem so shallow. I don't think it captured her spirit at all.

    On a side note, when are we going to see a baby-bump? I'm beginning to wonder if she is pregnant. I know she won't gain weight because her mother, based on a photo of Carole holding Kate at 15 days old, was really thin. So she's most likely going to be one of those ladies that remains thin, but has the bump. But even her face looks slimmer and there's still no bump. Where's the bump? =(

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    1. Women don't normally get a bump until, after 3 months. Since she has most likely just hit that mark that is most likely why. Although since she is skinny you would think it would show earlier.

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    2. Good Lord. You don't announce that you're pregnant one day and look like a sow the next. Pregnancy doens't work like the movies, people.

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  56. I think she looks mature, intelligent and poised on this portrait.

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  57. Ok, so she looks older in the painting.
    First of all I think Kate and Pippa tend to look older than their age in real life anyway. BUT if you notice the pictures that the artist took, particularly the close up of her eyes SHE HAD BAGGY AND DARK EYES. She asked him to pain her as is = no "Photoshop" work, so that is why I am assuming he didn't "help her out a bit".

    Kate is very pretty but I think she has bad sleeping habits. Honestly. She doesn't have to be up at dawn and she has no children, I don't think she is out clubbing either. Yet so many times she has dark circles and bags (Pippa is even worse). I suffer from the same thing. Again, but habits but I should change that pretty soon or I will look 60 when I am 40 (as will the Duchess).

    I think Kate should have gone to bed at 9pm at least for a whole month before sitting down with this artist.

    We don't always notice it because her pictures are not close ups and when she gets put on a cover I think they Photoshop her (just like the waistline in Grazia). I just saw the 3rd image in this post, yes where there is a close up of her eyes, JUST LIKE IN THE PAINTING. So let's not blame the artist. We have to admit the Duchess wasn't looking her best.

    Paul Emsley did a great job. I think the portrait of President Mandela is WOW, breathtaking!! Simply amazing!

    Kate looks great TODAY. I'm thinking that due to the pregnancy she has been sleeping more. She looks so pretty. Red suits her well :) I also LOVE her hairstyle today, she looks younger with the bangs and the ends outward, like on her engagement vs the hideous sausage curls that she started using after she got married. She looks great!

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  58. As an illustrator, I must say how very underwhelming it was when I first saw it. So disappointing, considering how beautiful and lively she can be in person. Almost feels dead inside and void of personality. Considering how fashionable she has been and continues robe to be, I still love the work of fashion illustrator, David Downton, who captured her beauty and sparkle best to date: http://keepfeelingfashionation.wordpress.com/visuals/

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  59. I didn't like the painting at all! I found it unflattering.
    It makes her seem much older than she is. I also think it is far from brilliant technically. Compared to the amazing detail of Mandela's portrait, there is a haze in Kate's. The eyes are too small and she has a glazed look, not focusing her gaze on anything. Again, Mandela portrait is looking back at you. The nose is wrong - it's too wide. The complexion is grey and almost blotchy. Look at the neck - there is no definition to it. it is just a pale, straight block. The expression looks like she just received some bad news. Altogether I found it disappointing, and surprising - considering the duchess is so gorgeous and lovely, it is hard to find an unflattering photo of her. I would conclude by saying the artist went out of his way to make his object seem less attractive than she is. The question is - Why?

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  60. Wow - I am not the only one who feels this was just an OK portrait. I skimmed all the comments above mine and I agree - older looking, the smirk, the lack of what many say is the glow of her skin (she does have great skin). It looks like her when I dissect the parts. Then when I put them altogether something is off - is the forehead too long or is the over all head too big - or maybe the head is coming forward toward the viewer more then it should? I don't know, but I also am not a fan. I do like some of this artist's other works, just not this one.

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  61. I agree with everyone that it misses her essence. I wonder if the portrait "makes sense" when viewed in person. Perhaps outside the context of the gallery and viewed two-dimensionally, it loses its vibrancy and life.

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  62. I don't think she's wearing jimmy choos. On one of the pictures from the Daily Mail, you can see they have no (or very small) platform.

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  63. Jane from New England11 January 2013 at 17:54

    I absolutely LOVE this portrait. And I am overjoyed that Catherine seems to be maturing in a wonderful way. She is becoming more and more royal and it is a delight to see. I also think pending motherhood is making her more reflective and elegant. She is going to develop into an amazing woman and strong force within the Royal family. I think later, she will have an official portrait made in one of her regal gowns, and perhaps eventually a tiara, but I do not think that will happen until she is the Princess of Wales. Everyone compares her to Diana, but we must all remember, Diana began as the Princess of Wales, so that was on a different level. One day Catherine will be there, and I for one am enjoying the journey! I am thrilled that she and William think the portrait is brilliant. It says a lot about their character. Thank you Charlotte for getting this post to us so quickly.

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    1. Jane - I was raised in and live in the DC area and visit the National Gallery and the Portrait Gallery frequently. There are some amazing portraits of living people there, all of which actually capture the subject, even if the artist has a point of view. This picture misses the mark entirely. Her features are not correct; they are out of proportion; and there is no particular feeling being conveyed. It is simply all wrong, and I hope GB's portrait gallery will quickly tuck it in the attic and commission a new painting.

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  64. It's ghastly. She looks like the cat who swallowed the canary. I've looked at it a number of times to try to find something redeeming. Nope, he certainly didn't get it right.

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  65. Kate looks exactly like this from a head-on angle. When her head is tilted or seen from her profile, she looks much better. She does have little bags under her eyes and those parentheses around her mouth. This is exactly what she look like without all that makeup. Remember how she looked on Christmas day?

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  66. OMG, Kate looks so old and has shadows under her eyes! The Duchess is so beautiful but the portrait is definitely not!

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  67. Charlotte,
    I have been an avid follower of Kate and for quite a while now, your blog. Thank you for all of your hard work, it is much appreciated. I am very curious as to what you thought of the portrait? I as well am curious if you have ever come in contact with the Duchess? I personally think that the artist did a fine job. Do I think it lacks the glamour and sophistication she exudes, yes. However, I do think it captures her minimalist and natural grace. The fact that she looks a bit aged in the portrait seems to be the artist's style.

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    1. Thank you very much for your comment.

      Unfortunately I have never come into contact with Kate. As for the portrait. Kate wanted it to reflect herself, not her official self so in that sense I think the artist did a fine job. However, I do agree it didn't quite capture her sparkle and vitality.

      Delete
  68. In my opinion Catherine can't pose for photographs/portrait.
    When, let's say, *common* photos of her are taken she looks STUNNING, it doesn't matter if she wears a gown or jeans, she looks simply amazing and nothing is forced. However, when she poses, she loses something, maybe her sparkle? I don't know how to explain it..

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    1. A lot of the photos published of Kate have been photoshopped, especially "official" ones. I think Kate did a couple of sittings with the artist, and chose the photo he used to finish the portrait. It's a good likeness of that photo, so I have to assume this is how Kate wanted us to see her. Although I do think he didn't get her nose right.

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  69. I'm SO disappointed. It's truly dreadful. She is so lovely, and full of youthful spirit as we've all seen, but in the portrait she looks 50.

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  70. I can't decide if I appreciate that she wanted it "natural" or if it saddens me that she looks so old in her first official portrait. For goodness' sake, she was only 30 when it was taken, but the eyes belong to a woman at least 10 years older. Hair stunning as always. I love the blouse and the earrings, even the coy smile, but her eyes don't usually look that small and baggy in photographs...

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  71. Kate, Texas, USA11 January 2013 at 18:27

    First, thank you so much Charlotte for the prompt post. I logged on this morning before taking my kiddos to school to see what the "big surprise" for today was. You had just posted the update and it was wonderful! I think you would be a brilliant journalist!

    I purposely haven't read any comments yet before I post as to not sway my first reaction/opinion. I was shocked and a little disappointed in the portrait. I am not an artist in any way, so I hope my comments don't offend anyone. I just don't think it does Kate justice. Why in the world is she not showing her smile? She has the most beautiful smile. To me it doesn't show her spirit. There's no sparkle in her eyes and they look much older and tired. She is obviously a beautiful subject to paint, but nothing in this portrait distinguishes her as a beautiful royal subject....gown, tiara, etc. Is it because she wanted her natural self instead of her official self? It definitely is more modern in its looks and I guess I was thinking it would be more traditional. I loved the portrait Nicky Phillips did of Prince William and Prince Harry. I wonder if she wasn't chosen because Prince Charles had already commissioned her to do a private portrait of Kate for Prince William. Maybe it will grow on me? I would definitely pay to go see it, but disappointed.

    On a brighter note, the Duchess looked beautiful and happy and seems to be feeling better. I hope this is the first of more engagements over the next few weeks. Charlotte, has anything been announced or put on her schedule that you are aware of? She's also still so tiny. Waiting to see that precious baby bump!

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  72. Diane from Boston11 January 2013 at 18:33

    No. Just no. I'm very disappointed in this. The overall impression is muddy and dull. The nose is too thick and dominates the face. The eyes are too small. Seriously, if I were paying for that, I wouldn't. Never mind sparkle and personality, which are definitely missing; this is just not even a good physical likeness. What a shame.

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  73. In my opinion, I think that many are basing their judgement of the portrait from what they see on their computer or phone screen. With today's technology, magnifying every crease, shadow in high def HD quality, obviously we would such details. This portrait is meant to be seen from a distance hanging on a wall in a gallery. If you zoom out and view it from that point of view, I do think think it captures her natural essence of warmth and some shyness. I remember how nervous she was in giving her first public speech. It will be interesting to see how her portraits evolve in the years to come as she becomes more royalized"

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    1. Jane from New England11 January 2013 at 19:10

      You are very right in one regard. The negative comments here are being based on what they see on the screen. As I have said in other places, this simply cannot convey what is really there. My husband has been a portraitist for many, many years. We have visit regularly nearly every major museum in this country. I have studied and taught art history. I lived in Washington, DC for many years and regularly went to the National Portrait Gallery and viewed the work there. This is the way a portrait is supposed to look!!! Please get educated in this before making comments that show your lack of knowledge!!!

      Delete
    2. Ok, Jane, we get it: your husband is a portrait painter. That doesn't give you the expertise to tell us what to think. A painting evokes a reaction, good or bad. Most people including many experts, think this is "rotten." For example, an art critic said, "This is an intelligent, thoughtful and educated sitter with no less than a degree in art history. She deserves better. We deserve better too, and so does the future." I happen to agree, and your million attempts to "educate" us fail and irritate.

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    3. OK Beth I am really laughing out loud. What the heck does her art degree have to do with it?!? How funny!
      She deserves better? LOL!
      Kate is a lovely young lady but she isn't PERFECT ok. So she has bags? So what? It's fine. We all have them once in a while. She just should have gotten more sleep and that's it.

      She wanted a natural looking portrait. I find it hilarious how people are always complaining about Photoshop and how others in magazines look nothing like their real life self yet there we have it, something NATURAL looking, a great work of art and talent from an amazing artist and we all want a fallacy.

      Delete
    4. Art is in the eye of the beholder. No one can say a portrait the way it is supposed to look - it is up to society who view the portrait to decide if it captured the person. A good painting to me captures the soul and glow of a person such as the picture of Mr. Mandela. That picture to me showed his soul and this IMO does not.
      BTW I have taken art history classes and my takeaway is art is personal to each person but the masters painted in a way that appealed to many at the time they painted.

      Delete
  74. I like the fact that the portrait is informal, but my first reaction was that it didn't capture her sparkle. (Interesting to see exactly that stated in this post).

    I'm glad that her family was there. Things HAVE changed and that's wonderful. And I love her dress. Perfect choice, IMO.

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    1. Kate has worn the Whistles Sophie Rae a number of times under coats but today was the first time we saw it and it looked lovely, very pretty and perfect for Kate as she is expecting but not showing yet.

      On another note, thank you all for taking the time to comment. The portrait has created quite the buzz. And of course it's lovely to see William and Kate!

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  75. Can I be honest and say I don't like how the portrait looks? I see how it captures the charm of Kate but it's just not the best one in my eyes. :(

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  76. I like how Kate looks well in this burgundy dress with black accent. She looks in higher spirit than the ones we saw from Christmas. :)

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  77. Her mouth looks pinched and, at least online, it looks like it is painted on black velvet :0

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  78. My local newspaper has a video of Catherine and William visiting the NPG. I couldn't find it onany other page. I hope this works: http://www.hs.fi/videot/Cambridgen+herttuatar+Catherinen+virallinen+muotokuva+paljastettiin/v1305636551959.

    I just love the way how Kate is leading their visit and William is following her:) It makes sense since it's her patronage and the event is all about her.

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  79. It is absolutely dreadful! It fails to capture her beauty or her personality and she looks as if she is approaching 50.

    Disgraceful!

    http://peterreynolds.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/appalling-portrait-does-kate-no-justice/

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  80. At first glance, I'm not crazy about the portrait. It does look better when viewed in context (see this image, for example http://cdn.independent.ie/multimedia/archive/01148/ROYAL_Kate__10_1148343a.jpg). It's definitely better then that Queen Elizabeth portrait by Lucian Freud! http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/22/queen-portraits-windsor-castle-art-show_n_2174757.html

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  81. At first I didn't love the portrait, she looks old. However, when I read that she wanted it to be natural, chances are she wore way less make-up than she does in public for this and to be honest, Kate does have those bags around her eyes. So when I look at it, in that manner of speaking I do like it. And my overall consensus is that the artist did a great job and is obviously talented.

    As for the baby bump watchers. Remember that she is still in her first trimester. MAYBE, just beginning her second. And although Kate is SUPER skinny, bumps don't really appear until 5 months and you don't really "pop" until late 6 months. (pop meaning the iconic round belly) Also, all women are different, but this is generally the case. I will say, her boobs do look slightly bigger though.

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    1. I agree with you concerning bump watchers. On 24th January 2012, the princess Marie of Denmark, second wife to prince Joachim and already mother of a boy gave birth to a little girl. The Danish Palace did not announce her pregnancy before the 4th month (August 2011) and had not the announcement be made nobody would have guessed that she was expecting before her 7th month . And yet, lovely little princess Athena was born, healthy and perfect in every way.

      It will be the same for Kate!

      Charlotte, here is a link to a nice diaporama of this event:

      http://www.purepeople.com/article/kate-middleton-enceinte-decouvre-avec-william-son-portrait-pourri_a113389/4#7

      Delete
  82. Alyssa from PA, USA11 January 2013 at 19:44

    I don't know anything about portraits so I don't know what I should think of this. I know Kate looked very good at the unveiling though! In regards to wondering where the baby bump is, for a first pregnancy I would think it is very unusual to show yet! My sister was tall and thin like Kate and she didn't show until five months. And then only people who knew her could tell! It could be a few months yet.

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  83. I have to say I think the portrait is beautiful. As Sarah from New England said you don't typically show teeth in a portrait. If you look at the photos the artist was using to paint the Duchess, he got her expression spot on. She does have a tendency to purse her lips a little when she is not smiling and there are many photos that have been taken of her with a similar expression. I think she looks elegant, serene and intelligent. Too much "sparkle" and the portrait would look frivolous. This artist is extremely talented and I think he did an amazing job.
    Kim

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  84. Hi. I wanna understand one thing. First, look at the picture righ after Mandela's portrait. A lot of Kate's photos that, I imagine, were used as "model" or something like that (sorry, I can't find the right word). I saw in posts on internet one picture of Kate with the blue blouse (which she wore to pose) without sleeves. Everybody were talking about the artist added sleeves in the royal portrait. But in that picture posted here, there is a photo where she is using the same blouse with sleeves... I'm wondering wich of theses blouses is the real one, or if she have the same blouse with and without the sleeves...
    For me, I like the fact she is only grimacing, not really smilling. By the way, the soft smile she gives for the photo he used is natural, seems like her, different of the portrait. What is weird to me is the sleeves thing, and the black backgroung, two things that make the portrait more serious than I expected. And I just realize a difference: in the picture with the blouse without sleeves, she is grimacing, in the other with sleeves, she is more serious. What makes me thinking if she poses twice.... Anyway, for a first royal portrait, it seems fine. I hope the next one could be better.

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    1. The blouse in the portrait is imaginary. That was in a couple articles I read of quotes from the artist. He created that garment from a composite of various photos and it's not something that exists in real life or anything he ever saw on her.

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    2. Oh also I should have added that in the reports I have read, while the garment in the portrait is not anything 'real' but the artist's liberty, the earnings are real. I think it was on 2 news channels I heard today and also in the Huffington post that the earrings in the portrait were a private wedding gift and are sapphires surrounded by diamonds - not drops but large studs (or maybe they are buttons). The portrait earrings look very similar to a pair of Diana's William gave Kate and he had that pair made into wire drops similar to the ones she wore today that are green with the surround of diamonds set in yellow gold.

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  85. For a summary of art critics' opinions on Kate's portrait:
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2013/01/11/duchess-kate-portrait-a-royal-flop-critics-fans-say/1827325/
    And he really botched the nose, too.

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  86. Sorry, I meant Jane from New England, not Sarah!
    Kim

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    1. Jane from New England12 January 2013 at 02:46

      That's okay, Kim! I got it! Thanks!! :-)

      Delete
  87. I think the portrait is unflattering. The Duchess looks 20 years older than her actual age, and looks rather dour. I think the art critics have it right on this one. This was not the most flattering, or true to life portrait. Better luck next time around. She deserves a second go.

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  88. Why is everyone so concerned with "seeing her bump"?

    They were rushed to make the announcement due to her hospitalization, so I doubt if she's even much past the 4 month mark at this point.

    Look at her build, look at her mom. Chances are she'll be "all baby" when she finally does show. In that case, you might be wondering "where's the bump?" well into her seventh month.

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  89. I think it is a lovely, intimate portrait. The Duchess looks as though she is in the middle of a conversation, with an engaged expression. I don't think it captures HRH with a photographic likeness, but maybe this is what she looks like more in real life. I don't think many of us look the same as we do in photographs.
    Romy

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  90. CJ from Minnesota11 January 2013 at 22:15

    For me the left side of the portrait is ok - its the right side that seems strange to me. The nose seems off and ... I don't know, can't put my finger on it. Perhaps, as someone mentioned, it is better to actually have more seatings with the painter so they can capture more of a real essence... I agree, it makes her look older and rather tired.

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  91. Charlotte- Many thanks for posting this so quickly and expertly!

    I'm a little disappointed with the portrait at first glance, especially around the mouth area. I agree with some who say it makes her look older. Nevertheless, I know that portraits often don't photograph well and may need to be viewed in person, possibly multiple times, to truly appreciate them.

    If you or anyone in England is going to see the portrait at the NPG, I would love to hear your opinions after seeing it "live". Please share if you can.

    Love the burgundy dress-very Kate. Glad we finally get to see it without a coat covering it.

    I think it's early for Kate to be showing. She's always been very athletic so she may show later and not as obviously as many women due to better muscle tone. If she likes exercise/sport, I would guess that she'll remain active throughout her pregnancy-with all appropriate caution. If it makes her feel good, I hope she can.

    Thanks for this post and the interesting comments!

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  92. I really don't like the portrait. While I absolutely love Nelson Mandela's portrait I think Kate looks old and tired on hers, it's a shame. Her natural radiance went lost. Let's hope there well be a lot more portraits of her in the coming years :)

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  93. Nancy Louise, Versailles, Kentucky USA11 January 2013 at 23:10

    I have appreciated reading Jane from England's comments about portrature as I know nothing of the mechanics of composing and producing a painted portrait. As many of you have noted, Kate does have small bags under her eyes -- and perhaps a genetic tendency towards under-eye darkness. Concealers have their limits. :) I suspect we all would enjoy the portrait more in person and from an appropriate distance -- the way paintings are meant to be viewed. Kate frequently purses her lips as shown and I was immediately reminded up a picture taken of her while looking at a carving of a woman with large exposed breasts in Marau the day after the topless photos were released. At the time, I thought the look more along the lines of "how ironic." In the painting her expression strikes me as more impish, not wicked or displeased.

    Like all of you I was overjoyed to see Kate looking so well and able to be out and about. I too love her hair fixed this way and how the dress looked on her.

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    1. Nancy Louise, Versailles, Kentucky USA12 January 2013 at 02:22

      Whoops! Jane, I moved you out of the States over to"Old" England. My bad.

      Delete
    2. I agree with you - all the Middleton ladies seem to struggle around the eye area with bags under their eyes, darkness etc. it's in their genes

      Delete
  94. It is a bad portrait. Her nose was inarticulately portrayed. Kate's best feature is her nose, which is small and thin, not wide as it is in the portrait. Other than that, her mouth, eyes, eyebrows, hair, and chin are like that in real life. The truth aint so pretty.

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  95. Ok- so I must be the only one that loves the portrait. She said she wanted natural and that is what we got. She didn't want it of her her "official" image and this definitely is making a statement to us I think. She is trying to show us who she really is. I also bet in person it is even more brilliant. Her eyes sparkle and her almost smirk is one I noticed just yesterday in pictures of her at her birthday where she looked the photographer in the eye as if to say- "I see you there..."

    I think he true mistake would be to compare the pictures of her on duty at official engagements to the way she looks in this portrait. I think we got a rare look at what she is like when she is not in the public eye.

    I love it.

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    1. I agree Gibson. My first reaction was that I wanted the smiling Duchess we all see. However, I think we have been given a glimse of who she really is. And I believe it is beautiful. Her serene smile with the glint in her eye....is her. Not the public Duchess, but the private one. Her expression draws me in with the calmness of her expression. We will have plenty more portraits and pictures of the public Duchess. I enjoy this one.

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  96. I don't like the portrait at all, its awful,,,it looks creepy and morbid. He was perfect with the rules of painting a portrait, but he totally missed the mark.

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  97. Sarah from Calif.12 January 2013 at 02:22

    Wow Charlotte what an exciting day!

    I Just wonder how many of the critiques have ever picked up a paint brush? I have and it's not that easy.
    Have a wonderful weekend:)

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  98. This is a wonderful portrait - I like it for it's real person qualities.

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  99. kate looks bloody awful in the painting. She looks grey, with lines under her eyes and a wider face and she should have been having a full smile not that awful smirk. I love her red dress and sash though but hope the next painting is more elegant like the real thing.

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  100. Has we say here in rural Wales. Not my cupa tea that at all.

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  101. Jenna from Germany12 January 2013 at 13:03

    I really have to say that after comparing the photo the artist took of Kate, the one that is also shown in this post, with the actual painting, I think he really painted her the way she looked like in this photo. When you look at it more closely, you can see that she has the very same expression in the photo as in the painting, the mouth is the same way. Also, the shadows under her eyes can be seen. I really like it more every time I look at it! She said she wanted to be painted naturally, and I'm sure she saw the photos that he took of her.

    I think what can be irritating about this painting is that it is larger than life, of course it shows more details than a photo, and also the dark background - it is very dark as a whole so this might be a bit irritating too and taking the "sparkle" away. I think it would be fascinating to go and see it in the Gallery, to take a look at it from a little bit more far away and then getting closer and discovering more and more details.

    By the way, I really LOVE the Whistles dress!

    Best Wishes!

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  102. I think the artist is obviously very skilled. It is a beautiful,soft painting. But i agree it makes her look much older and i think the nose is a bit bigger than it is in real life, making her look a little odd. I also agree that he hasn't captured that sparkle that we all know and love. But i also noticed that her sparkle wasn't really there in the photos of her he used for it either.

    I suppose it must have been daunting for her, having her first portrait. I think it probably does express an inner Kate that we don't usually see. Its quite a shy, guarded smile, but with a certain softness. Im sure its been a challenging couple of years for her, trying to find herself in her new public role with people always judging her and continually living with the reminder of Diana etc. She probably just wanted something simple that wouldn't attract too much attention. I just hope that after she becomes a mother, she relaxes more into her role and starts to feel that she deserves to be where she is and she doesn't need to apologise for it.

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  103. Hi ladies, I saw the portrait today!! I know there has been mixed reviews but I thought it was beautiful! quite serene. In my opinion Emsley has definitely captured a likeness. Up close there are no visible brush strokes which is remarkable considering how large it is. No portrayals in the media have done it justice! Mario Testino's royal engagement photos also accompany the piece in the next room. It's a free exhibition and I cannot recommend it enough for those who live near or in London.

    P.S. Massive thank you to Charlotte for this wonderful blog!!

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  104. I'm obviously in the minority, but I think it's a wonderful portrait. It's not supposed to be a glamour shot, it's a portrait and it's art. The artist in the video said the duchess wanted to be portrayed as her natural self, as opposed to her official self that we see at events. I have also seen photos of the portrait with people standing next to it and it looks like the tiny digital reproductions in newspapers and blogs (the portrait in real life is about twice life-size) aren't doing the painting justice. I think the portrait probably looks a lot better in real life and I wonder if the critics who hate it have seen it in real life, or if they're typing from their desks.

    As for whether Catherine was just being "polite" about the painting, this is my worthless two cents: I once had my photo taken by a professional photographer who "fixed" the imperfections on my face -- made my skin a lot smoother, my teeth were a little whiter. Other people thought it was a nice photo of me, but I was a little disappointed TBH. While it was a good, pretty and flattering picture, I felt like the Photoshopped me wasn't a reflection of who I think of when I picture myself. And I wish the photographer had mentioned what she was going to do -- I would have saved her a ton of time and effort, LOL. So who knows what the duchess really thinks of this portrait, but if she says she's pleased, I can believe that.

    A last thought that just occurred to me -- Catherine could have requested a "glamour shot" style portrait, with perfect make-up, rosy cheeks, smoothed out skin and glossy and shiny hair and eyes. Or a portrait that made her look like she's in her early 20s, and not the 31-year-old woman that she is. I think Catherine's approval of the painting shows that she's not a diva who demands flattery, and that counts for something, doesn't it?

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  105. Not a fan of the portrait. It makes her look about 50 years old, plus it's very dark, almost vampirish. Glad to see her out and about. The extra bit of weight she's put on suits her very well and she looks MUCH healthier than before her pregnancy was announced. Love the dress and definitely love that she's continuing to recycle outfits. As for her showing, she's only 12 weeks, give or take, along and she IS comparatively tall so I wouldn't expect to see a noticeable baby bump for a while yet. As posters on here have already noted, she tends to wear her waistlines high (higher than her natural waistline) to give the illusion of longer legs so many of her formal outfits are already constructed for maternity wear!

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  106. I think Kate looks just beautiful, in the painting and most importantly in at the event. She looks calm and looks like she is feeling better! It is such a delight to see her acting and looking just like herself! Although I have a question, any more events scheduled in the future?
    Lovely post as always,
    Erin

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  107. Ana B. from Brazil13 January 2013 at 03:31

    What a lovely surprise! The portrait is really nice, but I guess it did not capture her real beauty... Looks like she is a little tired, dont you think? Maybe it is because of the dark background, I dont know! Well, I like the portrait and her blouse!
    Hugs:)

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  108. Interesting all the observations, and looking at samples of the artist's previous paintings. Beautiful painted portraits of older, wrinkly men. I wonder if he's painted women, and younger ones at that? Honestly, there are some portrait painters who are great at a certain genre, and I don't think Emsley is well-suited for this task. As previously noted, David Downton has a long successful career of creating beautiful fashion illustrations of beautiful women. HE would have been perfect for this task, having done beautiful portraits of Elizabeth Taylor, Cate Blanchett, Catherine Deneuve and Kate prior to the wedding. However, if the NPG is all about supporting up and coming artists vs. well-established ones, that may have been the rationale...

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  109. Kate has very good hands for playing piano !

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  110. If an artist chooses a technique imitating the photograph, of course people will compare his painting with photographs. If you don't want to have this comparison, you must choose another way of painting, for instance like Lucian Freud. His portrait of Queen Elizabeth is perfect. In Kate's portrait there are some mistakes, it's evident: the colour is too opaque, especially the hair. The skin too, is lifeless, there is too much grey nuance in it. I don't think it's due to the reproduction, and seeing it from life would be different. Many people saw it in the museum and expressed negative opinions. I don't like the expression as well: when the Duchess smiles, she smiles with her eyes, not just with her mouth. Maybe the artist was too nervous about this work: some of his paintings, with young and beautiful women, are really perfect.

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  111. Michelle Dockery is also 31. Compare her to Kate and tell me Kate doesn't look old for her age.

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    1. They both look like they are in their early 30's

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  112. Kate, Texas, USA14 January 2013 at 12:14

    Art certainly does engage conversation! Now the big news..... Charlotte, I just read several news posts that the Palace has announced a July baby is on the way! Will check back later to see your update!!!

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  113. I was looking here Charlotte to see if you had anything yet about the Clarance House announcement that the baby due date is July...don't see anything yet here. I had counted back from the announcement and knew that she was less than the first 12 weeks so figured conception was first part of Nov. With my own plus/minus that means a July birth and if the baby is a bit early it would be June. I am happy for them - it's nice that the baby will have a birthday in summer time when the weather is nice and they can throw outdoor parties for the child.

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