Nicky Philipps grew up within an artistic family. Her mother has exhibited her still lifes and flower paintings numerous times in galleries in Mayfair and St James’s, her sister was an accomplished water-colourist and her father was also a “good amateur” artist. With this creative background and the influence of the Graham Sutherland Gallery, which was then located at her family home in Pembrokeshire, it was perhaps inevitable that Nicky would become such a prolific artist.
After leaving school, she trained at the City & Guilds of London Art School for two years before moving to the Cecil-Graves Studio in Florence, where she learnt the importance of the sight size method, before she returned to London in the late 1980s, as the call of the collection of The National Gallery and the Tate were too strong. It was back in the UK in the early 1990s where she commenced her immensely successful career as a portraitist.
Inspired by the great portrait artists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, primarily Sir John Lavery, Sir Oswald Birley, Philip de László, Sir William Orpen and John Singer Sargent, Philipps soon decided that she wanted to create a truth in her work as well as producing portraits that would bring a sense of joy to those who saw them and a strong sense of likeness by those who sit for them.
In early 2008 Nicky was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery in London to paint a portrait of TRH Princes William and Harry. Her double-portrait of the brothers was unveiled in January 2010 and depicts the two princes wearing the dress uniform of the Blues and Royals, one of the regiments of the Household Cavalry and was set in Clarence House. “The first portrait of the princes captures them formally dressed, but informally posed. It is a delightful image which extends the tradition of royal portraiture,” said National Portrait Gallery director Sandy Nairne.
A year after the unveiling of the Princes portrait, Nicky was approached by Royal Mail to HM Queen Elizabeth II for the first-class stamp series celebrating the 60th anniversary of her Coronation, the first time Royal Mail had commissioned a painting. The full-length portrait depicts HM The Queen in her robes of the Order of the Garter, surrounded by her four dogs. It was at Buckingham Palace during one of her sittings that the idea of including the corgis was born. The painting, gifted by Royal Mail, has been accepted by The Queen and is now on display as part of the Royal Collection in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace.
In March 2014 Nicky’s portrait of Falklands hero Simon Weston OBE was unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery, London. The portrait was commissioned by the NPG and the BBC for their joint project the ‘People’s Portrait’, which gave the public the chance to vote for the person they believed most deserving of a portrait hanging in the NPG. The BBC documented the portrait from the initial meeting of Nicky and Simon, through each ‘sitting’, to the unveiling of the portrait at the NPG by presenters Fiona Bruce and Dan Snow. The one-hour programme was featured on BBC 1 on Sunday 13th April.
Between her portrait commissions, Nicky has had many successful still life and landscape exhibitions and paintings can be found in public and private collections worldwide.
Nicky Philipps paints portraits and still lifes which can be compared to those of John Singer Sargent in their freshness of application and clarity of drawing.Desmond Shaw-Taylor, former surveyor of the Queen’s pictures
Get in touch
You can see a selection of Nicky’s works below. If you would like to commission Nicky, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the gallery on 020 7839 2792.
Selected awards & exhibitions
- 2022: Group: Royal Portraits, Fine Art Commissions, London, UK
- 2020: Solo: The summer show, Fine Art Commissions, London, UK
- 2020: Group: Open Art Fair, Chelsea, London, UK
- 2020: Group: Stage & Screen, Fine Art Commissions, London, UK
- 2019: Group: Summer Portraiture Exhibition, Fine Art Commissions, London, UK
- 2017: Solo: Fine Art Commissions, London, UK
- 2015: Solo: Fine Art Commissions, London, UK
- 2015: Group: Contemporary Masters, Fine Art Commissions, London, UK
- 2013: Solo: Fine Art Commissions, London, UK
- 1999 – 2007 & 2011: Group: artLondon, London, UK
- 2008: Group: Arndean Gallery, London, UK
- 2008: Solo: Palm Beach Art Fair, Florida, USA
- 2007: Solo: Arndean Gallery, London, UK
- 2005: Group: BP Portrait Awards, National Portrait Gallery, London, UK
- 2005: Group: The Garrick Milne Exhibition, Christies, London, UK
- 2003: Group: Family Exhibition, Arndean Gallery, London, UK
- 2001: 2002 Group: FAC Annual Portrait Exhibition, London, UK
- 2001 Solo: Arndean Gallery, London, UK
- 2000 – 2004: Group: Olympia Fine Art and Antiques Fair, London, UK
Selected commissions & collections
- The Royal Collection for the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Scotland (Her Majesty The Queen)
- Royal Mail Group (Her Majesty The Queen)
- The Royal Company of Archers (Her Majesty The Queen)
- HRH The Prince of Wales (HRH The Duchess of Cambridge)
- National Portrait Gallery, London (TRH Princes William and Harry)
- Eton College (TRH Princes William and Harry)
- The Fishmongers Company (HRH The Princess Royal)
- BBC and National Portrait Gallery, London (Simon Weston OBE)
- The US Embassy, London (Louis B Susman, Ambassador)
- US Court of Appeals for The First Circuit, Boston, USA (Judge Michael Boudin)
- Alnwick Castle (The Duke and Duchess of Northumberland)
- The Baltic Exchange (Mr Peter Kerr-Dineen)
- EMI Classics (Mr Richard Lyttleton)
- The Worshipful Company of Grocers (Lord George)
- Blavatnik School of Government (Professor Ngaire Woods)
- Blavatnik School of Government (Sir Len Blavatnik)
- J O Hambro, London (Mr Richard Hambro)
- Westminster Abbey (The Very Reverend Dr John Hall)
- Mr Hugh Bonneville
- Dame Amelia Fawcett
- H H The Maharaja Gaj Singh II of Marwar Jodhpur
- Fiona Bruce
- Mr Kelsey Grammer
Works for sale
Please click the images to see sizes and pricing.
English evening light
Yellow rose in glass vase
Old fashioned roses in a trug
Rhododendrons in a silver vase
Her Majesty The Queen
Sycamores in winter
Sycamores in spring
Rhododendrons in ‘Peep in Walk’, Picton Castle, Wales
Path through the woods
Evening light on waterlilies
There is a dignity to the full-length portrait that Philipps has produced, and it shows her enjoyment in her portrayal of the robes, and her desire to make things sparkle.Karen Wright, Art Critic, The Independent