A Cardiff artist has unveiled his £10,000 portrait of award-winning author Hilary Mantel which will go on show at the British Library later this month.
Nick Lord, from Pontcanna, won the chance to paint double Man Booker prize-winner Mantel after beating 2,000 other artists to be named Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year in December last year.
The portrait, by 25-year-old Mr Lord, will be the first painting of a living writer to feature in the library, joining the likes of Shakespeare and Virginia Woolf.
Mr Lord, who works in his studio in Cardiff Bay and met Mantel several times before beginning the portrait, said the writer was a delight to paint.
He said: “She was such a nice person. I went down to her house and met her and I think it’s because we are quite similar in our professions so that was a talking point.
“It was great to be able to build a rapport. She was lovely, so kind and knowledgeable.”
Mr Lord took almost 500 photos in preparation for painting the author.
“I spent 4 hours with Hilary over one morning to get to know her and find out what she wanted, and then I took the photos which we then went through.”
Mr Lord listened to 90s hip hop and rap while he painted Mantel. Photo: Tim Anderson
“She didn’t really have an idea of how she wanted to come across. I showed her one I really liked and she almost jumped out her seat, she knew that that was her now, how she feels.”
Mr Lord says during the portrait of Mantel, which took 10 days and was painted using acrylic, he listened to a lot of 90s hip hop and rap music.
“I try and work freely. I can’t be too strict or it’s too forced. I listen to music to get me in the zone and it is quite fun, I have a little dance. It takes away the seriousness.”
During the Sky Arts competition last year, Mr Lord also painted portraits of well-known faces such as Sophie Dahl and Gavin Henson.
He said the Cardiff arts scene remains quite unexplored territory for him, and is keen to continue working in the city.
“The Cardiff art scene is completely different to London. I haven’t been able to involve myself fully yet. Other artists are doing exciting work, it’s just unknown territory to me at the moment.”