Sir Robert Carswell

Oil on canvas, 30 x 25 inches, 1984

In painting Sir Robert, I naturally sought to reflect his well-earned reputation as a distinguished judge. The high security surrounding his existence could only emphasise the way in which he apparently embodied the English legal system, and I observed that whilst the sittings for Sir Robert’s portrait took place both in his home in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and in the Law Courts, he naturally assumed an even greater air of judicial authority in the courtroom. The surroundings added conviction to his pose. Sir Robert is now the Lord Chief Justice for Northern Ireland.

I have often found that the use of ceremonial uniform or robes can enhance a portrait, not only by conveying the sitter’s role, but also by summoning up historical associations.