Portrait of Douglas Dunn

Edwards' ambitious, large scale paintings have established him as one of the most prominent contemporary portraitists working today. He has exhibited widely, and is represented in the National Portrait Gallery by his portraits of Seamus Heaney, Bobby Charlton and the Liverpool Poets. He began work on a series of portraits of poets in 1985 with the intention of usurping a scale historically used to promote kings and princes, and the power of the ruling classes. Edwards used it to portray a group of people without political or financial power, who instead have the subtler power of poetry: 'I wanted the figure to be the same size as the viewer to give the sensation of being in their presence - of almost being in the picture space.' The poet Douglas Dunn came to Hull from Scotland in the 1960s to study at the University and spent the next fifteen years as a freelance writer, becoming the major catalyst of the Hull poetry boom. Dunn's wife Lesley was the Senior Keeper of the Ferens until her untimely death in 1981: this portrait brings a special relevance and poignancy to both the Gallery and the City of Hull. The Portrait of Douglas Dunn conveys a strong sense of the poet's vivacious and engaging character, lively curiosity and humour. The view over the Forth of Tay through the bay window lends an airy atmosphere and broad perspective to hint at his expansive use of language which describes this landscape so effectively in Saturday's Rainbow, 1990.