The princess modeled for more than 30 sittings for the painting completed by artist Nelson Shanks in 1994.
A rare portrait of Diana, Princess of Wales, will be on public display for the first time after it was recently sold at an auction.
The oil sketch was a preparatory study for a formal full-length portrait by American artist Nelson Shanks. The artist has painted many famous people including former US President Ronald Reagan, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, opera singer Luciano Pavarotti and Pope John Paul II before his death in 2015. The rare painting of Princess Diana was completed in 1994, three years before her death, reports CNN. It will be on display at the Philip Mould & Company gallery until July 6.
"As royal painted portraits go, it is extraordinarily rare for an artist to capture both the public and private character simultaneously," said gallerist Philip Mould in a release. "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."
The painting was completed just three years before her untimely passing in 1997 https://t.co/yBeWLSPMjN— TAXI (@designtaxi) July 1, 2022
The rare portrait depiction of the Princess of Wales looking pensively down at the floor will be part of the Masterpiece Art Fair 2022 exhibit. The painting was originally displayed at the Kensington Palace home which she shared with her sons Prince William, 40, and Prince Harry, 37. Later the painting was moved to her family home at Althorp House in Northamptonshire, 75 miles north of London. In the portrait, the late Princess of Wales can be seen wearing a green velvet Catherine Walker halter dress in the lead-up to her famous 1997 Vanity Fair magazine shoot. For the final image, she changed into a traditional white blouse and blue skirt.
Peruvian fashion and portrait photographer, Mario Testino, was born #OnThisDay in 1954. He photographed Princess Diana for the July 1997 issue of Vanity Fair, wearing a green velvet halter neck dress by Catherine Walker. Dress from @HRP_palaces. #photographer #fashionphotography pic.twitter.com/lAbwmvjrOw— Victoria Haddock (@vickyhaddock) October 30, 2021
Sotheby's auction house previously revealed that the portrait sold for 10 times its expected sale price, according to CBS News. The oil piece, titled "Diana, Princess of Wales" was expected to sell for $20,000 but it sold for $201,600. The head study of Diana was created during the start of her full-length portrait which the princess sat for over 35 hours. The full portrait reflects "the emotional toll of Diana's public life in the mid-1990s, but also her inner resilience," Sotheby's said.
Princess Diana in 1994 during an oil painting session at American painter Nelson Shanks's studio in London. pic.twitter.com/yxB9MDKwf5— A flaw in the matrix (@flawwinn) April 2, 2021
Princess Diana would have turned 61 years old on July 1, 2022; she rang in her last ever birthday, her 36th birthday on July 1, 1997. Around two months before the fatal crash that killed her, the 'People's Princess', as she was affectionately known, had celebrated her big day by attending a gala held in honor of the Tate Gallery's Centenary in London. She spent the day at special charity fundraising evening meeting fans and well-wishers too. "Diana had a genius for people," her younger brother, Charles, 9th Earl Spencer, once said. "She could make any person, whether they were the grandest or the most humble feel totally at ease in her company." Charles, who accompanied his sister to the event, revealed that it was the last time he saw her alive. "The last time I saw Diana was on July 1, her birthday in London, when typically she was not taking time to celebrate her special day with friends but was guest of honor at a special charity fundraising evening. She sparkled, of course,” he said. And it looks like her shine will never be dimmed, even decades later.
July 1, 1997: Princess Diana on her 36th and last birthday attends the centenary soiree for The Tate Gallery in London pic.twitter.com/YE6KXAlToR— ALL PRINCESS DIANA (@princessdibooks) July 1, 2018
Cover Image Source: Photo by Stroud | Daily Express | Hulton Archive | Getty Images