by Charles Saumarez Smith

The work of Stuart Pearson Wright first came to my attention through his entries to the BP Portrait Award. It was clear that he was an exceptionally talented figurative artist, working in a way which is highly meticulous, but also with a strange visual imagination. In 1998, he won the BP Travel Award and soon after was awarded a major commission to paint the Past Presidents of the Royal Academy. This won the first prize in the BP Portrait Award in 2001.

There are obvious antecedents to his work in the work of Flemish painters and in the British romantic tradition. But, like the best painters of the past, he draws on an inherited tradition, while at the same time producing work of great originality.

Charles Saumarez Smith (Director, National Gallery)