Commissioning a portrait
Francesca prides herself on undertaking commissions for clients and some of her most personal pieces are completed whilst the subject of her painting is ‘in situ’.
When commissioning a painting, Francesca invites the portrait subject into her studio to ‘sit’ for her. This is to ensure the portrait isn’t just accurately drawn, but also represents the person’s character. The portrait is then completed within 3 months and, after 6 months, can be varnished adding longevity to the painting. This time frame allows Francesca to order a bespoke canvas from London and use traditional oil paints, which take time to dry. Often, clients are keen to request their paintings after three months leaving them to be varnished at a later date.
Please bear that in mind when planning a portrait that Francesca can have a waiting list during busy periods so leave as much time as possible to avoid disappointment.
Two of Francesca’s many accolades include a painting of The Bishop of Worcester and a painting of The Swordbearer of Worcester which you would be welcome to view at the Old Palace located next to Worcester Cathedral, or the Guildhall in the centre of Worcester.
Bishop of Worcester.
In 2017 Francesca was commissioned to paint the Official Portrait of the Bishop of Worcester.
“It’s traditional for bishops to have their portraits painted, but I’ve been putting it off until I found someone to paint it in whom I had complete confidence. I chose Fran after being impressed with her portrait of someone I knew and I’m delighted to be able to support a talented up and coming local artist. Fran has done an excellent job, particularly with such unpromising material.”-Bishop John
The Portrait hangs in main entrance at the Old Palace and is open to the public.
Swordbearer of Worcester
Francesca was commissioned to paint the Official Portrait of Frank Southam, the Swordbearer of Worcester in 2018, in honour of his 28th year in the role.
As well as his role as Swordbearer, Frank has worked at the Worcester City Council for over 50 years. Tom commemorate his service of over half a century, his portrait will hang on permanent display at the Worcester Guildhall.
After receiving the commission, Francesca said: ‘I am grateful to the Council for commissioning the painting. I view it was a great privilege to be able to paint such a unique part of Worcester‘s heritage, and it’s so exciting to think that the portrait of Frank will now become part of the same heritage. It is an ideal way to celebrate such a long-serving devoted figure’
Commissioning a portrait is a wonderful way to celebrate a special event whether a birthday, wedding, anniversary, or as a Christmas gift. Giving a portrait to someone is a unique, personal and thoughtful gift.
Portrait as a gift
If the gift of a portrait is a surprise present for someone, Fran works closely with a Worcester Calligrapher, Rachel, from Sparkling Ink Calligraphy to handwrite a bespoke invitation for a sitting. Rachel specialises in Copperplate Calligraphy which has its origins in the 16th Century, and its flowing cursive hand is the closest to modern handwriting of the Calligraphic scripts.
Your invitation will be written in Iron Black Gall Ink which is partly made from the galls of an oak and the recipe dates back to the Middle Ages. Many drawings of Leonardo da Vinci were sketched using the Iron Gall Ink.
The letter is then wrapped in Belgian portrait canvas, tied and carefully packaged in an A5 box, finished with a satin ribbon.
Please note that Francesca would need to know at least a month in advance and there will be a small additional cost for the invitation.
Painting in Situ
Sometimes part of the painting is where the portrait is painted. For this, Francesca will do a colour study in the chosen place. As well as this, she will also ask the sitter to come sit in her studio, if possible, to make studies of the person’s face. She will then combine the colour study, face study and photographs taken during the sittings to create your painting.
Remembering a loved one
It is possible to discuss with Francesca commissioning a portrait of someone who is no longer with us. Before agreeing to the portrait Francesca would ask to see the images available to her and discuss if it is possible to work from them. It is not always possible, but Francesca always welcomes a discussion. She would then meet with you to talk about the person and understand their character as this is very much a part of the painting process.
In the past, Francesca has spent time watching family films or looking through other pictures allowing her to build a picture of the person in her head in order to complete a painting. This is part of a very personal process which helps preserve the memory of someone much-loved.
Commissioning a portrait of a child is a really wonderful way of capturing a precious moment in childhood. This is especially important to Francesca; as an artist, she is quick to observe how quickly change happens and how important it is to capture a specific moment.
In the past, when Fran has been commissioned to paint children, she has put on a film in her studio to keep them entertained. If they are too young to sit, or just to wriggly, she can come to you and take photographs to work from later in her studio.
Whether it’s remembering a special person, creating something which is to be cherished for years to come, Francesca works in a way that captures the character and personality of her subject allowing her paintings to come to life.