After searching across the UK and Ireland for the most talented portrait artist, Nick Lord has been crowned the Sky Arts Portrait Artist Of The Year.
Working with prestigious organisations including the National Portrait Gallery and The British Library and presented by Joan Bakewell and Frank Skinner, the innovative competition travelled across the UK and Ireland in search of inspiring and talented artists. Sitters across the series include Alison Steadman, David Rawle (Sky Ones Moone Boy), and Sophie Turner aka Sansa Stark from Game of Thrones.
25 year-old Lord from Cardiff saw off competition from more than 1,800 artists to secure the title in the highly competitive Sky Arts series, winning a 10,000 commission to paint a portrait of double-Booker and Costa Award-winning author Hilary Mantel for The British Library.
The tense final held at the National Portrait Gallery was the culmination of a 10 month search for the most talented portrait artist in the UK and Ireland. Nick won with a portfolio of work done throughout the series including his final piece, a portrait of Lance Corporal Johnson Beharry VC.
The series judges, Kathleen Soriano, Director of Exhibitions at the Royal Academy, Kate Bryan, Head of Contemporary at the Fine Art Society and portrait artist Tai-Shan Schierenberg, along with Sandy Nairne, Director, National Portrait Gallery, praised Nicks portrait as magnificent, bold and accomplished.
Lord will now be commissioned to paint a portrait of double-Booker author Hilary Mantel for The British Library. The portrait of Mantel will be the only portrait of a living author on public display in the library and will be become part of its permanent art collection, due to be unveiled in early 2014. Lord will also receive a years supply of art materials courtesy of leading fine art supplier Cass Art.
The competition began in the summer with heats held in London, Cardiff, Glasgow and Dublin. Nick, along with the three other finalists from each heat - Luis Morris, Selena Mowat and Ewan McClure - were then set two further challenges, including painting model Sophie Dahl, before seeing their work displayed and judged at the National Portrait Gallery in the closely fought final.
Their work from the series will remain on display at the National Portrait Gallery for the public to see from December 13 to 19.
Nick was born and raised in Cardiff. He studied for a BA in Fine Art at Kingston University and graduated in July 2011 with a First Class Honours. He currently works at his fathers shop, painting model trains.