Gallery unveils Weston portrait
- 20 March 2014
- From the section Entertainment & Arts
The National Portrait Gallery (NPG) has unveiled a new portrait of Falklands War veteran Simon Weston.
The picture, by artist Nicky Philipps, marks the first joint commission between the BBC and the London gallery.
Viewers of The One Show chose Weston from a shortlist of 12 public figures who they felt most deserved to have their image displayed at the gallery.
Next month Fiona Bruce will front a BBC documentary which follows the painting of the portrait, and Weston's life.
Philipp's full-length oil painting shows Weston holding his medals and standing behind a chair on which is placed a Welsh Guards beret, symbolic of those lost in the bombing of Sir Galahad. His own cap was destroyed in battle.
"I felt it was important to show Simon's hands", says Philipps, "they were badly burned but he still has the use of them, and I wanted to show him holding his medals."
Weston, who joined the Welsh Guards at the age of 16, suffered 46% burns to his body and face when the Sir Galahad came under fire during the Falklands War in 1982.
He underwent more than 70 operations to reconstruct his face, and has gone on to raise millions of pounds for charity - in particular supporting people living with disfigurement. He was later made an OBE.
Philipps, who was selected jointly by the gallery and the BBC, was previously commissioned by the NPG to paint Prince William and Prince Harry in 2009.
Last year, she was approached by Royal Mail to paint a portrait of the Queen for one of the Coronation Jubilee stamps, the first time the organisation had commissioned a painting.
"The portrait serves as a powerful reminder of the reality of warfare and a tribute to Weston's courage," said Sarah Howgate, Contemporary Curator of the National Portrait Gallery.