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Simon Weston by Nicky Philipps, 2013 © National Portrait Gallery, London
Today The National Portrait Gallery and the BBC today unveiled their first joint painted portrait commission – of Falklands War veteran Simon Weston by artist Nicky Philipps. Weston was voted last September by viewers of BBC One’s The One Show as the public figure who most deserved to have his picture displayed at the National Portrait Gallery.
Simon Weston was a member of the Welsh Guards who suffered widespread burns to his body and face in the Falklands conflict in 1982. After considerable surgery to reconstruct his face, he suffered extreme psychological trauma and praises his family and old regiment for their part in his recovery.
His courage and subsequent career as a writer and champion of many charities supporting people living with disfigurements was recognised by the viewers of BBC One’s The One Show who were asked to vote for a sitter for a portrait to become part of the Gallery’s Collection. Chosen from a shortlist of 12 individuals with very different achievements, Weston was announced as the winner in September 2013.
The finished portrait goes on display at the gallery for the first time today Thursday 20 March and to coincide with the launch of the broadcast in April of a major BBC ONE behind-the-scenes television documentary presented by Fiona Bruce.
Artist Nicky Philipps who was selected by a joint Gallery and BBC panel to undertake the commission has painted a number of high profile portraits including Prince William and Prince Harry .
Simon Weston by Nicky Philipps is the Balcony Gallery at the National Portrait Gallery, London, from Thursday 20 March, Admission Free.
THE PEOPLE’S PORTRAIT will air in April on BBC ONE