Honorary Fellows, Past and Present

Calum Colvin (Artist)

Research output: Non-textual formArtefact


A large-scale group portrait (190cms x 232cms) commemorating 100 years of Honorary Fellows at The British Academy commissioned to be permanently sited in their Carlton House Terrace building in London alongside their notable collection of modern and contemporary art featuring work by Barbara Hepworth, David Hockney, Terry Frost amongst others.

A complex composition created over six years merging painting, photography, and mixed media sculpture to depict 8 eminent Honorary Fellows, each with their own particular ties to the Academy’s history. Historical figures such as Winston Churchill, Henry Moore, Marc Fitch, Leonard Wolfson, and Bertrand Russell feature alongside contemporary Fellows Brenda Hale, Mary Warnock and Lord Rothschild.

Three of the portraits (Churchill, Moore and Russell) were separately created and re-photographed within the final composition, enabling a complex series of visual movements from the three-dimensional perception of the work toward the two-dimensional photographic surface.

The composition challenges the viewer to an intricate visual reading. Historian Prof Martin Kemp FBA says … "What also struck me at the Unveiling, however, was the work of viewer: the decoding of objects, images, and perspective in order to take in the whole. I think that this experience in a way mirrors various methods in the humanities and social sciences – the discipline we champion here at the Academy-and the relationship between research and scholar, between writer and reader."

The portrait was unveiled to an audience of Academicians, families of the subjects and patrons of the Academy on 8th Nov 2022 by Julia Black CBE, Academy President and further remarks on the context of the portrait and the connections between the sitters were provided by historian Sir David Cannadine and Professor Dawn Adès. Other Speakers included Colvin, who described the research processes and methods. A separate presentation of working photographs and a rendering of the Churchill portrait by the DJCAD 3D VisLab were presented on a nearby monitor.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCarlton House Terrace, London
PublisherBritish Academy
Media of outputOther
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2022


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