Michael Taylor is a figurative painter, who has been producing his carefully and thoughtfully composed oil paintings since he left Goldsmith's College School of Art, in 1973.
His portraits are well known for their insight and intensity — images of many of these works may be found on this site. Winner of the prestigious John Player Award (now BP Portrait Award), Michael has three portrait paintings and one pencil drawing in the National Portrait Gallery (London) collection. His work can also be found in many notable institutional and private collections. These include the fine portrait collection at Christchurch Hall (Oxford), Church House (Oxford), Southampton University, Robinson College (Cambridge) and the House of Lords (of the UK Parliament).
Portraiture has consistently been a vital element of his work. The portraits benefit from the attention and commitment that he invests in all his paintings. Michael was elected a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in 2001.
Michael's pencil drawing, Self Portrait (In Memory of my Father) was acquired by The National Portrait Gallery, London in February, 2012.
Michael's Portrait with Grave Goods won the Lark Trust Award 2005, at the Royal West of England Academy. This painting was subsequently acquired by the prestigious Scheringa Museum of Realist Art, Spanbroek, Netherlands.
Michael's painting, Couple with Lamp, won the Holburne Contemporary Portrait Prize, 2002. This award is organised by the Holburne Museum of Art in Bath, England. This lead to a commission to paint jazz saxophonist, Andy Sheppard for their permanent collection.
Michael's portrait of Sir John Tavener won the Changing Faces prize at the 2002 Royal Society of Portrait Painters exhibition. The prize is awarded for the portrait that is most outstanding in the way it communicates with the viewer. The Sir John Tavener portrait was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in 2002.
Baroness P D James, on the painting of herself by the artist
I liked the strength and originality of his compositions and the authority with which he used colour..... It is a powerful painting which I much admire.
Robin Gibson, then Chief Curator, National Portrait Gallery, London
In it's way a minor masterpiece, the portrait [of P D James] itself could hardly be more compelling, Taylor's acute observation recording a vivid likeness.
This ability to capture the character of the sitter as well as the moment in time is what makes a good portrait. Michael Taylor's painting of Renata Symonds, a nonagenarian Jungian psychotherapist, projects a lifetime of gravitas in her wise, intense gaze. But he had caught something else, a certain intellectual impatience, characterized by the swing of her hair, the angle of her head and her askew pearl necklace.
Sir Alec Guiness
The most striking portrait, for my money, is Michael Taylor's oil of Julian Bream. For ten minutes I sat and gazed at it and felt I knew Bream. What surprised me was the rather formidable, almost morose, look in the eye..... There is in that portrait something different.....
When he had finished the painting, I was very pleased with what he had done. What I admired about him was that he was very sure of himself ... his sense of composition was good, and I also liked his sense of colour.
Sir John Tavener, on first seeing the portrait of himself by the artist
It is exactly how I feel inside when I am composing.
Sir John Tavener, on seeing the portrait of himself for the second time
It is how I shall look when I am laid out in my coffin.
Although his time is usually heavily committed, Michael does accept portrait commissions. If you are considering the commissioning of a portrait from him, you may get in touch via the Contact page of this site. He will be pleased to discuss it with you.Share/Save
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