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Gordon King

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Household names from the worlds of entertainment, sport, politics, cinema and music have sat for the hugely popular contemporary figurative and portraiture artist, Gordon King over the years, including the instantly recognizable faces of Sir Norman Wisdom, Gloria Hunniford, Ann Widdecombe, Tim Henman, Tony Jacklin, Katherine Jenkins and the legendary actress, Patricia Neal.And it’s fair to say that his reputation as a fine artist goes before him. Long regarded as one of the UK’s most prominent and quite possibly, one of its finest contemporary figurative artists, King has an almost uncanny knack for capturing the illustratively precise essence of his muse’s likeness and mood, as well as visually cementing an innate sense of atmosphere and ambience indicative of their surroundings.

Ever since childhood King has shown a remarkable talent for the life-like illustration of predominantly the female form, in both oils and watercolours, which was obviously seized on, nurtured, encouraged and developed whilst studying life drawing and painting whilst at school and then afterwards, when attending Reading University. To this day King is perhaps best known for his measured and delicate watercolour interpretations of girls in natural surroundings, prints of which have been published and collected worldwide, yet he also works with equal competence in oils or acrylics as suggested above, achieving the same stunning results across all three media. In addition to his accumulative composition works that have played out as both individual pieces and collections in galleries and exhibitions far and wide, King has also seen the successful publication of two books during the 1990s. the first of which had its forward written by none other than HRH Princess Anne in recognition of his charitable endeavours for the Save the Children Fund, which of course The Princess Royal is patron of. King’s unquestionable passion for his beloved illustrative subject matter has featured in a number of art-focussed TV programmes, whilst his work has been previously shown at the Royal Academy and the Mall Galleries in London.

Born in March 1939 around the outbreak of WWII, King spent his formative years growing up on west Scotland’s Fife coast, before he upped sticks and moved south of the border. He now resides and has his studio based in Buckinghamshire. As a child King’s skill-set was evident from the outset, when he bagged a number of first prizes in major art competitions, which effectively paved the way for him to go on to prosper and evolve his fledgling artistic talents at, firstly school, and then later, University as mentioned earlier. On completion of his studies, King applied himself to figurative illustration, whereby he followed a period of training at London’s Carlton Studios. The advent of National Service meant King’s training was punctuated, however if anything this juncture only served to strengthen both his understanding and love of art as he was posted to Paris as a Draughtsman in the Royal Signal Corp.

When he returned to ordinary life and times, King immersed himself in freelance illustration contracts and projects throughout the course of his 20s, during which time he creatively (yet always commercially) answered briefs for popular magazines, book titles and advertising agencies, all keen to sample his (more corporate-savvy) wares there and then. Gradually though, and in the background during his spare time, King built up the commission side of his work by painting portraits and exhibiting his work until, in the mid-70she had constructed a strong enough portfolio and client-base to give up his 9 – 5 illustrative bill-payers; thus enabling him to thereafter concentrate full-time on his paintings.