By Brian Moore
IF you’re having your portrait painted by an award-winning artist, it certainly can’t hurt if you’re related to the person who is about to immortalise your image for generations to admire.
West Cork’s own TV celebrity and author Graham Norton has had his portrait painted, and it will soon hang in the National Gallery. The artist is Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year, Gareth Reid.
Gareth, originally from Belfast, beat 54 other artists to take the €11,000 prizemoney, and the chance to paint Graham’s portrait.
‘I apologise to the artist and to the visitors to the National Gallery, but a combination of vanity and my mother’s excitement meant I couldn’t refuse,’ Graham said.
However, it was only on meeting his subject that Gareth realised that he was in fact related to the TV personality. It turns out that Gareth’s great-grandmother is the sister of Graham’s great-grandfather. ‘I still can’t quite take in the chances of me, out of all the people who entered [the competition] to paint Graham Norton … it turns out we’re third cousins,’ Gareth said.
The portrait, which is now complete and awaiting a home at the National Gallery in Dublin, depicts a relaxed Graham with a seascape behind him. Could this be a scene from his garden in Ahaskita, overlooking our own Dunmanus Bay?