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a portrait of The Queen Mother by renowned royal portraitist Michael Noakes

Michael Noakes

(1933-2018)
Michael Noakes became a favoured portrait painter of the establishment throughout his career, his sitters include the Prince of Wales, the Queen Mother, the Duke of Edinburgh, Princess Margaret and the Princess Royal.

Biography

Educated at Downside and the Royal Academy Schools, Michael Noakes developed a naturalistic style which subsequently caught the attention of actors, religious leaders, politicians and members of the royal family. During his career of over sixty years, he became a particularly favoured portrait painter of the establishment. His sitters include the Prince of Wales, the Queen Mother, the Duke of Edinburgh, Princess Margaret and the Princess Royal.

Noakes’ long association with the Royal Family began in 1972 when he was commissioned by the City of London Corporation to paint seven members of the Royal Family and the Lord and Lady Mayoress of London, in six different locations. Commissioned to celebrate the Silver Wedding anniversary of the Queen and Prince Philip, the group portrait now hangs in London’s Guildhall Art Gallery. 

Determination has been a hallmark of Noakes’ work, and his studious work ethic is apparent. During one of his many sittings with the Queen, Noakes recalled growing increasingly irritated with the number of disruptions and interruptions. Finally exasperated beyond a point of containment, a knock at the door prompted Noakes to cry out “What do you want?”. He was answered cautiously by The Prince of Wales, inquiring if it might be possible to speak with the Queen.[4] Noakes was grateful that, in this instance, he may have been accorded more lenience than most others would have been granted.

Noakes’ prominence is not confined to the city of London. His international reputation is evidenced repeatedly through his wide range of patrons, but most notably through his position as the only painter to have been given time by Pope Benedict XVI for a portrait commissioned by and for the Vatican. Noakes’ paintings hang in many important collections such as the National Portrait Gallery, the British Museum and the House of Commons.

Read full biography

Educated at Downside and the Royal Academy Schools, Michael Noakes developed a naturalistic style which subsequently caught the attention of actors, religious leaders, politicians and members of the royal family. During his career of over sixty years, he became a particularly favoured portrait painter of the establishment. His sitters include the Prince of Wales, the Queen Mother, the Duke of Edinburgh, Princess Margaret and the Princess Royal.

Noakes’ long association with the Royal Family began in 1972 when he was commissioned by the City of London Corporation to paint seven members of the Royal Family and the Lord and Lady Mayoress of London, in six different locations. Commissioned to celebrate the Silver Wedding anniversary of the Queen and Prince Philip, the group portrait now hangs in London’s Guildhall Art Gallery. 

Determination has been a hallmark of Noakes’ work, and his studious work ethic is apparent. During one of his many sittings with the Queen, Noakes recalled growing increasingly irritated with the number of disruptions and interruptions. Finally exasperated beyond a point of containment, a knock at the door prompted Noakes to cry out “What do you want?”. He was answered cautiously by The Prince of Wales, inquiring if it might be possible to speak with the Queen.[4] Noakes was grateful that, in this instance, he may have been accorded more lenience than most others would have been granted.

Noakes’ prominence is not confined to the city of London. His international reputation is evidenced repeatedly through his wide range of patrons, but most notably through his position as the only painter to have been given time by Pope Benedict XVI for a portrait commissioned by and for the Vatican. Noakes’ paintings hang in many important collections such as the National Portrait Gallery, the British Museum and the House of Commons.

 

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500 Years of British Art