Elspeth Barker

Artist Of The Portrait

Man with a Blue Scarf: On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud


Thames & Hudson 247pp £18.95 order from our bookshop

Martin Gayford is an art critic and the author of studies of Constable and Van Gogh. In 2003 he offered to sit for a portrait by Lucian Freud, whom he had known both professionally and as a friend for ten years. This book is composed of reflections and memories of the ensuing eighteen months, during which Freud completed two portraits: the oil painting Man in a Blue Scarf and an etching. Throughout the sittings Gayford kept notes on his own thoughts, Freud’s technique, conversations over dinner, the studio, and other sitters. He describes the result as a ‘painting of my own fascination with the whole process of being painted’, and ‘a sort of accidental self-portrait’, but it is also an impressionistic attempt to capture something of the essence of the mercurial Freud.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • ‘At every waking moment Barbara Hepworth was aware of herself as a woman paving the way in a man’s world’ From the… ,
    • The entertaining Howard Jacobson is in conversation with Prof John Mullan at the Queen’s Park Book Festival on Sund… ,
    • 'A modest and retiring man, Thompson spent his life describing apple varieties and recommending the best – Ribston… ,
    • 'Macfarlane is a poet with the instincts of a thriller writer, an autodidact in botany, mycology, geology and palae… ,
    • 'Some scholars attribute Shakespeare’s pre-eminence to four centuries of propaganda and not to the fact that Hamlet… ,
    • RT : We would appreciate any retweets ,
    • We've just stumbled on a gem from the LR archive. The emoluments page from May 1995, in which one reviewer asked to… ,