MR RICHARD WHEELER
Oil on canvas, 28 x 22 inches, 2002
Photograph by Anthony Butler
Richard Wheeler’s portrait was commissioned to mark his retirement as non-executive Chairman of Lay & Wheeler, shortly before this famous company of wine merchants celebrated its 150th anniversary.
Wanting to paint Mr Wheeler amidst the paraphernalia of the wine business, I first of all set him against a giant cask in the company’s cellar.
The background was unfortunately too overpowering, but when I was invited to the tasting room to watch him in action, I soon realised that this was an aspect of the man I wanted to capture.
The simplicity of him in profile, holding a wine glass, absorbed in the task of tasting, perfectly summed up the man and his profession.