Ed Sheeran portrait by NI artist goes on display in London – BBC News

Image copyright Jorge Herrera/SilverHub
Image caption The portrait was based on drawings made and photographs taken during a sitting at Sheeran’s home

A portrait of Ed Sheeran painted by Northern Ireland artist Colin Davidson is set to go on display in London.

The singer sat for Mr Davidson at his Suffolk home in August 2015, during which the artist made 20 drawings and took reference photographs.

Mr Davidson, who is known for his larger-than-life canvasses, has painted many high-profile people, including Seamus Heaney, Brad Pitt and the Queen.

It had been a “true privilege to get to know Ed and his family”, he said.

The Belfast-based artist said that when painting a portrait he is “looking for the moment when the person is almost unaware of me being there”.

Image copyright Jorge Herrera/SilverHub
Image caption Colin Davidson said the portrait reveals “something experienced beyond [Sheeran’s] years”

“I feel I got it with Ed,” he added.

“I deliberately didn’t want Ed to perform and that was odd for him.

“There is a youthful aspect to the portrait but also something experienced beyond his years.

“It is my hope that this new portrait offers an alternative insight, one which allows the viewer to glimpse the source of Ed’s unique creativity,” he added.

Mr Davidson explained why all of his portraits were deliberately the same size.

“The idea is that everyone I paint is an equal and that format allows the face to become something else,” he said.

Image caption The artist painted the Queen after a sitting at Buckingham Palace last year

“If you see a painting of a face that is life-size, it never becomes anything else, it is a head – if it is smaller or bigger it can become something else.”

The artist is represented in the collections of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC, the Ulster Museum in Belfast and Dublin’s National Gallery of Ireland.

The portrait is one of two that Mr Davidson has painted of the singer, with the other in a private collection.

The four-foot square portrait, in oil on linen, will go on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London from 10:00 BST on Wednesday.

Last November, a portrait of the Queen by the artist was unveiled in London by the monarch.

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