“Beyond Likeness” is an exhibition of the portraiture of Victoria Crowe at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Having worked with Victoria on her Leathersellers tapestry design with Dovecot Tapestry Studios, we were excited to return to her studio to discuss her approach and concerns in portraiture.
Victoria was in the early stages of a portrait of art historian and critic Duncan Macmillan. The portrait was still shifting and emerging under Vicky’s brush and Duncan’s personality and the conversation between them were somehow part of what was being recorded on the canvas.
It was a privilege to delve into the experiences, people and ideas that have shaped her process. Vicky’s commitment to get past the ‘polite veneer’ of acquaintance through her research, careful observation and importantly the conversations with her sitters in which mutual curiosity and vulnerability lead somehow to images that confront us with an honest intensity that seems to characterise her work.
The short film includes some of these insights into Victoria’s process and footage of Duncan Macmillan’s portrait in progress. Various edits were produced for use by National Galleries Scotland in the Portrait Gallery alongside the exhibition and online.