'Extraordinarily rare' portrait of Princess Diana goes on public display for first time

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Princess Diana
Princess Diana
Photo: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images
  • An oil painting of Princess Diana is on display in London for the first time ever.
  • The artwork, titled Diana, Princess of Wales, was completed by artist Nelson Shanks in 1994.
  • "It is extraordinarily rare for an artist to capture both the public and private character simultaneously," gallerist Philip Mould said.


An oil painting of Princess Diana is on display in London for the first time ever.

Per People, the artwork – titled Diana, Princess of Wales – was completed by artist Nelson Shanks in 1994, just three years before Diana's tragic death in Paris. It will be featured in the Philip Mould & Company gallery in the British capital until 6 July.

According to a post about the painting on Instagram, "the sittings for this portrait took place at a critical moment in Diana's personal life" and was created "over the course of thirty sittings and thirty-five hours".

The caption, alongside a video showing off the portrait, adds that "Nelson Shanks' London studio became a place of solace and refuge for Diana" during her sittings, where she grew close with Shanks and his wife, Leona. 

Their friendship was so dear that the Princess of Wales "later confided in a letter to Nelson and Leona that…coming to the studio was a safe haven, so full of love and support.'"

Gallerist Philip Mould reveals in the video clip that the oil painting has never been put on display before, as it was the first draft of a portrait that is now on display at Althorp Estate, which is owned by Diana's brother, Earl Charles Spencer.

GET TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE PORTRAIT HERE:

"As royal painted portraits go, it is extraordinarily rare for an artist to capture both the public and private character simultaneously," Mould said in a press release, per CNN

"Shank's sketch uniquely fuses Diana's glamour with the affecting pathos of her final years. We felt it belonged in a British collection and are delighted to be able to display it in her home city."


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