Maggi Hambling CBE is a celebrated and sometimes controversial British artist.

She was the first artist in residence at the National Gallery and has work in The National Portrait Gallery, The V&A, The British Museum, The Tate Collection, and the Scottish National Collection of Modern Art, among many others.

Maggi Hambling is particularly well known for her controversial public sculptures (such as the recent memorial for Mary Wollstonecraft), seascapes and landscapes, and portraits of the dying and dead.

Her portrait Frances Rose (2) is part of The Jerwood Collection and is on show in The Curator’s Choice.  She was the joint winner of the Jerwood Painting Prize in 1995, together with Patrick Caulfield.

Visitors to the exhibition can listen to an interview with Maggi Hambling as she describes how her portraits evolved, from working from memory to her thickly applied and more abstract ‘pudding’ paintings, through to painting again from life.

In this extract she describes painting a series of four portraits of Frances Rose:

I asked my neighbour, the old lady Frances Rose, in her 80’s then, who was a friend of mine. I would go and take her some Guinness and I would drink some Barley Wine.

[…]

The first one was done from a drawing, the second one done from life, the third one, a little head and shoulders, from life, and the fourth one from memory because I was with her when she died on Clapham Common. A hospital – that was a hospital for women on Clapham Common – that doesn’t exist anymore. And I was with her there the afternoon that she died. She was the first death I had registered really. And I did a painting from memory of that.

[…]

She loved posing, she really got quite cross when I moved on to have other sitters.