Former Aberdeen Lord Provost’s portrait revealed
An oil painting of the former Lord Provost of Aberdeen George Adam has been revealed today (Friday 28 August).
The commissioned portrait by artist Steven Higginson was hung in the St Nicholas Room of the Town House in preparation for the unveiling which had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The former Lord Provost is passionate about supporting artists with North East Scotland connections and an open call for the commission was made in April 2019 using social media, arts networks and by direct contact with artists and art school alumni teams.
Practising artists born, trained or working in the Grampian and Tayside regions were invited to submit a proposal for the commission, estimated costs and timescale, a brief description of their method of working, a CV and examples of their previous work.
A specific brief was developed to ensure that the finished work was in keeping with the historic collection of Aberdeen Lord Provost portraits stretching back hundreds of years.
From 11 submissions four were shortlisted before artist Steven Higginson, who works from his studio in Broughty Ferry, was selected to paint the portrait.
Steven Higginson graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone, Dundee, with a degree in Fine Art in 2004 and continues to live and work in the city, while exhibiting and selling worldwide. He has been selected for the BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2019 and 2020 – this year’s show will take place at Aberdeen Art Gallery. He also recently won the Painting & Drawing First Prize at the Aberdeen Art Society’s (AAA) annual exhibition, which can be viewed online at www.aagm.co.uk until Sunday 30 August 2020.
The Lord Provost of Aberdeen Barney Crockett said: “The painting captures the very essence of George. He looks deep in thought and I think most people who know George would describe him as a very thoughtful, measured and considerate man. The portrait is outstanding and looks resplendent alongside the other portraits of the former Lord Provosts of Aberdeen in the St Nicholas Room in the Town House."
Steven Higginson said: “I was delighted to be selected to paint the former Lord Provost – it’s the biggest portrait commission I’ve ever taken on.“My recent work has focussed on a strong use of light and shadow, so I wanted to incorporate this into the composition. The St Nicholas Room lent itself perfectly to this, with its large windows, so I positioned the former Lord Provost in front of one of them, while still capturing other prominent features of the room.
“My main objective was of course to capture the former Lord Provost’s approachable nature and sense of duty, which I hope comes through to those viewing the painting. It was a pleasure working on this commission and it is an honour to know the piece will hang for years to come in such a prominent building.”
Former Lord Provost of Aberdeen George Adam said: "I was so pleased that Steven was selected to paint the portrait and I'm delighted with the end result.
“The painting looks wonderful hanging in the St Nicholas Room which is such a beautiful space where all the most recent portraits are on display. It is my favourite room in the Town House where I spent a good deal of time as Lord Provost. I knew that I wanted the portrait to be set there and for the painting to show some of the room’s distinctive features and the finished work does this exceptionally well.”
The total cost of the commission was £10,000.