Commander A.H.F Wilks

Oil on canvas, 30 x 20 inches, 1986

This was a personal commission from Commander (now Captain) Wilks, Commander of the Royal Naval College in Greenwich.Sittings took place in the famous painted hall at Greenwich, with Godfrey Knellerā€™s mural as the background. This historic setting is famous for many events, but perhaps none more special than the Lying-in-State of Admiral Lord Nelson before he became the first commoner to be granted a state funeral.

Aware of all the historic associations, and looking for possible links to the past, I wanted to take out the starkly geometric modern chairs. Captain Wilks had other ideas, correctly insisting that as the portrait was to be an historical record of his tenure at the Royal Naval College, everything should be painted exactly as it was.