A painting to ‘capture the spirit’ of former Lord Mayor
6 Dec 2017
One of Northern Ireland’s most celebrated artists has said he hopes his portrait of former Lord Mayor of Belfast Alderman Brian Kingston has captured “the spirit of the man”.
Colin Davidson has painted the portraits of some of the world’s best known faces including The Queen, Brad Pitt and Angela Merkel as well as a host of homegrown talent – Sir Kenneth Branagh, Liam Neeson, Ciaran Hinds and Jamie Dornan, Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody, and poet and Freeman of the City of Belfast Michael Longley, to name a few.
His portrait of German Chancellor Angela Merkel also graced the front cover of TIME magazine when she was named Time Person of the Year.
Mr Davidson joined Alderman Kingston and current Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Nuala McAllister to reveal the portrait which will now take its place on the historic walls of the City Hall.
Mr Davidson said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to spend time with, and paint the portrait of Alderman Brian Kingston. I was not interested in any extraneous detail beyond the Chain of Office and Brian’s wedding ring, I wished instead to focus on Brian’s countenance and what that might show.”
“I hope when people view the painting in years to come, that they will be afforded a glimpse of the spirit of the man,” he added.
Alderman Kingston was delighted as he unveiled the new portrait to the current Lord Mayor, as well as his family, friends and other council colleagues.
He said: “It is a great honour to have been painted by Colin Davidson, whom I consider to be the leading artist of his generation and a local artist of truly international standing.
“When it came to selecting an artist, I did suggest his name, but wasn’t sure if it would be possible. I was delighted when he agreed.
“I was very impressed previously by his Silent Testimony exhibition at the Ulster Museum, and by other recent paintings of The Queen, Angela Merkel, Liam Neeson, Sir Kenneth Branagh and many others.”
Alderman Kingston added: “Like me, Colin is a past-pupil of Methodist College. I was a few years ahead of him so although we did not know each other then, our years at Methody did overlap and we will have passed each other in the corridors. So it is a connection that we were both educated at that great school in the same era.
“I feel honoured to have been painted by him and am very pleased with the outcome. I am pleased for Belfast City Hall that we have a Colin Davidson painting in the popular art gallery of former Lord Mayors, and I am also pleased for Colin that he has taken his place, in his home city, among the featured artists at City Hall.”
The painting can be viewed by the public as part of the free guided tours at City Hall which take place seven days a week. For more information, visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/cityhall