The Picture of Kate Middleton

The first official painting of the Duchess of Cambridge has been unveiled to mixed reviews from critics.
Paul Emsley's work took several months using a technique of building thin layers of oil and glazes on canvas.

"It's very human - when you look at it, the full face is in front of you, you look straight into the eyes and face," he said.

"There are no airs and graces, there's no background context to allude to success or power - it's very much on a level of one to one with the viewer.
"It's quite natural, it's open, it's straightforward and very pure - it's immediate and not overly sentimental."

- bbc: Kate portrait gets mixed reviews

What the artist has done is to try to make Kate look wisely royal, or royally wise, or royal and therefore wise, and hence, better-than-thou you proletarian gits. 

It seems, and quite rightly so, that youth is not really associated with wisdom - that seems to be automatically endowed upon royals.

But looking at the criticisms of the portrait out there, it seems that people are a bit tired of the wiser-than-thou look that is traditionally associated with being an elder.  Elders are referred to as 'elderly' these days, as if it is some kind of undesirable condition.  Not suprising since youth, if American-led media has its way, is everything, and being older is just being 'past it'.

"this painting makes a very good looking young woman look positively middle-aged! - QPR4me

"Kate Middlteon is famous for her beauty, and so I think the painting is extremely insutling." - Melisa

"Oh my! Who is this faded one-time beauty? Definitely couldn't be Katie!" - Mayaya

"This has to be a wind up. It looks like she is on perscription medication and has been power drinking" - Mr Truculent

"This artist has turned a seriously attractive woman into a pensioner." - Second Para

(comments taken from the bbc)

Youth and beauty is in.  They basically want a ‘star’ along the lines of made-in-hollywood ‘beauties’ whom they are accustomed to gaze upon starry-eyed.  Beauty and being a celeb is wisdom personified these days.  Everything else, amongst the celeb-venerating peasantry, including themselves, in the face and faces of the contents of Hello magazine and its variants, is simply a careless 'whatever'.   What we're witnessing is a mass deep-seated inferiority complex.

(Personally, i don't find Kate to be a beauty worthy of gawking at.  She looks as alright as the general British girl whom wander past my weekly coffee at Esquires in Harlow Town.  But i suppose i'm not one of those whom value that which is publicised positively simply because it is so...regardless whether it is glazed with royal demeanour or not.)

The portrait as it is, with wisely-knowing squints and creases thrown in, is just a PR move whose intent might be compromised if captured with something as antiquated as a camera, DSLR or otherwise, that might not detect the demeanor that can only be added via an artist’s brush……unless followed by more than a modicum of post-processing via photoshop to remove any trace of the normal, or pleb. 

However, whilst the intent may be right, it's simply wrong for the juvenile-dominated and american-led market of these times.


postscript: anyway, just on a sidenote, when i first saw the portrait, the first thing that came to mind was the 80s tv series, Beauty and the Beast.  No, i'm not trying to be insulting here, and i never found the Beast in the aforementioned series to be ugly anyway.  But i did find the resemblance to be quite striking.


  1. This article reminds me of my experience with the chinese in singapore regarding the appreciation of beauty. Regardless of man or woman, most chinese do not appreciate the many faces of beauty. Their idea of a woman’s beauty is “she is very fair”. If a woman is not fair, she is not viewed as beautiful.    


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