Isabel Douglas-Hamilton

Born in Scotland to a concert pianist father and picture framer mother, Isabel’s love of figurative drawing began at an early age – at the age of nine she was runner up in the Royal Academy’s Quentin Blake Prize for Best Drawing.

Having taken evening classes in Russian at nearby York University whilst still at school, she enrolled at the Stieglitz Academy of Art and Design in St Petersburg, drawn to it through her admiration of the drawings by Valentin Serov and Sergei Diaghilev.

This intensive training provided her with invaluable skills in drawing quickly and confidently from life models and an understanding of how to incorporate different media and textures into her work.

Following her degree in Modern Languages at University College London, Isabel returned to Russia, working in the design department of the Stanislavsky theatre in Moscow. It was during this time that Isabel turned her attention to portraiture, often sketching the actors from the theatre during breaks.

Isabel subsequently chose to pursue a career as an artist and so continued her training, first at the Florence Academy under Jordan Sokol and Amaya Gurpide and later with Colleen Barry at Grand Central Atelier in New York. In 2021, Isabel returned to London where she set up her own studio.

Her work aims to capture the spirit of the sitter by engaging them in conversation and focusing on their character. She believes that the more animated the sitter, the truer to life the portrait will be.

Her inspirations include the drawings of Michelangelo, Valentin Serov, Ramon Casas and John Singer Sargent.

Isabel’s work can be found in private collections across the U.K., Europe and the U.S.A.

Working with this artist is a life enhancing experience and an absolute joy. Our sessions flew by in a dream as we discussed life, friends, hopes, and desires. Isabel is an artist of great skill and sensibility who has the ability to penetrate her subject’s soul. I have no reservations in recommending her as one of our finest young emerging artists trained in the tradition of our great portraitists throughout the centuries.

Deborah Bennett

Get in touch

You can see a selection of Isabel’s works below. If you would like to commission Isabel, please email or call the gallery on 020 7839 2792.

Portrait examples