Portrait of Timothy Berners-Lee

    Date
    2008
    Sitter
    Timothy Berners-Lee (British) , Computer scientist
    Creator
    Jennifer McRae (1959, British) , Painter
    Object type
    Archive reference number
    Material
    Dimensions
    height (painting): 2130mm
    width (painting): 1900mm
    Subject
    Description
    Full- length portrait of Sir Tim Berners-Lee seated in an upright position, legs angled at the knee and hands lightly crossed. The sitter wears a light blue-grey suit, white shirt and boldly patterned tie in blue and red.

    The main portrait forms part of a double canvas. The inner work sits over a base canvas of paint and collage in which McRae combines the intellectual content of its subject’s work on the World Wide Web with her own journey to paint Berners-Lee in a flow-chart of preliminary sketches, souvenirs and snatches of conversation. This nimbus from the information age is a playful framing device, nodding to the gilded frames of Society’s earlier portraits.

    Sir Timothy Berners-Lee was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2001.
    Transcription
    McRae 08
    Object history
    Presented by Dame Stephanie Shirley, 2008.

    Following the commission, via Patricia Jordan-Evans of the Bohun Gallery, Jennifer. McRae travelled to Boston [in February 2007 according to the artist – 2008?] to meet the scientist and it was at MIT that she saw a wall chart on the World Wide Web which became the imaginative key to the work. The first of seven sittings commenced in Spring 2008, each of 2-3 hours. The work was unveiled at the Royal Society’s Carlton House Terrace headquarters on 19 November 2008. [E-mail correspondence and an account by Jennifer McRae are preserved in a Royal Society provenance file on this picture].

    One of two works commissioned for the Royal Society by Dame Stephanie Shirley: the other of Stephen Hawing by Tai-Shan Schierenberg.
    Associated place
    <The World>
       > Europe
          > United Kingdom
    Credit
    ©Jennifer McRae
    Image number
    RS.9642
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