Duchess of Cambridge's First Official Portrait Proves Divisive

January 11, 2013, Friday // 01:51
Bulgaria: Duchess of Cambridge's First Official Portrait Proves Divisive
Critics slammed the 'rotten' picture by Paul Emsley after it was unveiled at London's National Portrait Gallery, saying it looked 'nothing like Kate in real life'. Photo by Daily Mail

The Duchess of Cambridge's first official portrait was unveiled on Friday and though described by her as "amazing", it has elicited mixed reactions.

Kate's painting was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery and, following her suggestion, depicts her natural, not official, persona.

Award-winning artist Paul Emsley created the large head and shoulders painting of the duchess set against his trademark dark background. Critics however fumed at the shadows and lines beneath her eyes, the coppery tinge of her hair and the fact that the Duchess is not pictured smiling.

The Duchess, who wore a burgundy dress by Whistles, was joined by Prince William for a private viewing of the painting this morning before it goes on display to the public this afternoon.

The royal couple spent around 10 minutes looking at the portrait privately then met Emsley and his wife Susanne and daughter Marie.

Kate has been suffering from a rare form of pregnancy sickness but looked well and smiled as she chatted to the artist.

She told him: "It's just amazing, I thought it was brilliant."

William also had high praise for the painting, saying: "It's beautiful, it's absolutely beautiful."

The first official portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge provoked a dismayed reaction when it was unveiled.

Critics slammed the 'rotten' picture by Paul Emsley after it was unveiled at London's National Portrait Gallery, saying it looked 'nothing like Kate in real life'.

The artist - who is famous for dividing opinion with his extraordinarily realistic, almost 'photographic' style - was commissioned by the gallery after Kate chose him from a shortlist.


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