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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Daphne Todd















Daphne Todd




Daphne Todd has the unusual distinction of having been awarded First Prize of the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery, reputedly the most important portrait prize in the world, which had an international send-in of over 2000, in 2010, after having won Second Prize (when it was called the John Player Award) back in 1983. In the meantime she was elected the first female President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters (1994-2000) and was awarded an OBE for services to the Arts in 2002.

Early in her career, Todd had three works selected for the Critic's Choice Exhibition by the art critic for the Daily Telegraph, to hang alongside work by Michael Andrews, Graham Sutherland and Lucien Freud. She is perhaps best known for her portraits and currently has four in the permanent collection of the NPG, (Sir Christopher Ondaatje, Spike Milligan, Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover and Dame Janet Baker) and a portrait drawing in the collection of HM the Queen, but, having studied at the Slade School of Fine Art as an undergraduate and postgraduate, she considers herself simply an analytical painter of the seen world.

Her landscapes, still lifes and figure studies are exhibited at Messums Gallery in Cork St, where she has had 4 solo shows since 2002. She is a Trustee of the Heatherley School of Art in Chelsea and an Ambassador for East Sussex, where she lives on a small farm. Although her studio is a large converted barn she very often travels to her sitters and enjoys exposure to new terrain. A book about her life: Paint and Principle, by Jenny Pery was published in 2008 and is available from the Mall Galleries' book shop.








Daphne Todd OBE (born 1947) is an English artist who was the first female President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters from 1994–2000, and who won the BP Portrait Award 2010 with a painting of her 100-year-old mother's corpse.

She studied at the Slade 1964-71. In 1983 she won 2nd prize in what is now the BP Portrait Award, and in 1984 a "special commendation". She was elected a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in 1985. She became a Freeman of the City of London in 1997 and received an Hon. Doctorate of Arts from De Montfort University in 1998.

In 2001 she won the Ondaatje Prize for Portraiture and the Gold Medal, and was awarded an OBE.
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