A portrait of Professor Anthony Giddens, eminent sociologist and former director of LSE, by artist Michael Noakes, was unveiled in an official ceremony at the School today (Monday 22 January).
Commissioned by LSE, this very unusual portrait was painted by artist Michael Noakes and will be displayed at the School before being exhibited at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in London.
Professor Giddens was director of the London School of Economics from 1997 to 2003 and was made a life peer in May 2004. He has honorary degrees from 15 universities and is a fellow of the American Academy of Science and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He was the BBC Reith Lecturer in 1999. His books have been translated into some forty languages. He has sat on the board of various public organisations, including the Institute of Public Policy Research.
Artist Michael Noakes' work is in many collections, including the private collection of the Queen and the Royal Collection, Windsor; the British Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery. He has been president of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters and chairman of the Contemporary Portrait Society, and is a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and a freeman of the City of London. He is currently painting Pope Benedict XVI, commissioned from that Vatican where the portrait will hang. He is the only painter to be given time by the Pope.
Lord Grabiner, chairman of the Court of Governors at LSE, unveiled the portrait at LSE to an audience of LSE staff, governors and invited guests.
Michael Noakes said: 'I observed how dynamic a speaker Lord Giddens was when talking to his students. He would float an idea, explore it more thoroughly, and finally deliver his conclusion with force. It was this aspect of his personality that I thought could best be echoed by showing his left hand in three different positions. This is a break with conventional portraiture but is virtually unique and which I felt he would respond to with enthusiasm.
'Portraits form part of a record of the age and families have their histories too, so I hope that painting both Lord Giddens and the Pope won't put them off coming to me!'
The portrait will be exhibited at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, Mall Galleries, London, from 25 April 2007.
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A high-res picture of the portrait is available on request.
22 January 2007