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Retrospective for local portrait painter: Graves Gallery to showcase the work of Lorna May Wadsworth

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'Just One Macaron More Please Mr Executioner' by Lorna May Wadsworth (2015)

A new exhibition at Graves Gallery will look back at the work of one of Britain's most successful portrait painters.

'GAZE: A Retrospective of Portraits by Lorna May Wadsworth' runs from 9 November to 15 February. Entry is free.

Born in Sheffield, Wadsworth has gone on to create portraits of Margaret Thatcher, David Blunkett and Neil Gaiman.

The galleries of Sheffield would fill my head with wonder and possibility

"One of my earliest memories is doing a huge painting on the floor with a pot of gold paint and a lovely blobby brush at a Mappin Art Gallery summer art class," she said.

"My mum had taken my older brother and I had begged and begged to be allowed to stay. I can trace my love of using 24 carat gold in my work to that day!"

The retrospective will feature over 100 pictures, including a new portrait of the former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams.

Jarvis Cocker's grandmother asked Wadsworth to paint him when she was 14, kickstarting her career as a portraitist.

She cites Sheffield's art galleries as an early inspiration.

"The galleries of Sheffield would fill my head with wonder and possibility," she said. "The giant bear, Ruskin's perfect feather, the cabinet of little shoes."

Other portraits in the show include actors Derek Jacobi and David Tennant, and former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

"To be having this retrospective exhibition in my home city is a phenomenal honour for me and a magical moment in my career," said Wadsworth.

"I hope that girls in the city might see my exhibition and be similarly inspired to pursue their creative dreams."

Sam Gregory

'GAZE: A Retrospective of Portraits by Lorna May Wadsworth' runs from 9 November to 15 February at Graves Gallery.

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