Trinidadian artist paints King Charles portrait for Tatler cover

Trinidadian artist who ‘didn’t know what a throne looked like’ paints King Charles portrait for the cover of Tatler – and it’s going up for auction at Sotheby’s

  • Sarah Knights, who is a full-time art teacher and a painter, took the commission
  • READ MORE: Official Coronation portraits show Charles is ‘a King who knows his own mind’

A Trinidadian artist who honed her skills drawing Bart Simpson as a child has been commissioned to create the July cover of Tatler with a stunning portrait of the newly-crowned King Charles.

Sarah Knights, who also works full-time as an art teacher, revealed she had hardly told anyone about her commission apart from her husband, her boss and her mother.

After being approached for the work at the end of 2022, Sarah said it was a ‘very special’ opportunity but added it had been difficult to complete the portrait, which will go up for auction at Sotheby’s this summer.

However, she admitted to the magazine that she had very little knowledge of King Charles before she took on the commission and explained her working process of spending hours looking at photos of him.

Despite not being much of a royal fan before painting the monarch, Sarah revealed her project had convinced her to watch King Charles’s Coronation on TV on May 6. 

Sarah Knights’ painting of King Charles is the front cover for the July issue of Tatler and will go up for auction at Sotheby’s this summer

As she explained her process, Sarah revealed she painted King Charles using two photos of him – one in which he was wearing a hat but was in the perfect position, and the other of him without a hat so she could paint his head and hair accurately.

Although in the photo she used, Charles was facing west, she decided to turn him to the east to represent sunrise and a new dawn. 

She revealed: ‘I think it was important to capture the King looking hopeful, full of clarity in a time such as this, so I got my husband to sit for me in profile to help me get the pose right.’

Sarah, who draws inspiration from the works of Francis Bacon, Claude Monet and others, revealed she honed her artistic skills as a child while painting characters like Bart Simpson and Fido Dido.

Sarah (pictured) didn’t tell anyone about her commission apart from her boss, her mother and her husband

Sarah takes her inspiration from artists including Francis Bacon and Claude Monet, but explained this commission was not easy for her to complete

As she began depicting the King sitting down, Sarah realised she needed to pay attention to his surroundings as well as the figure himself.

However, she joked: ‘I had absolutely no idea what a throne looked like!’

Unsure where to draw inspiration, Sarah found her answer in the work of Sir George Hayter when he depicted Queen Victoria after her coronation in 1838. 

Sarah told Tatler that she hadn’t originally planned to watch King Charles’s Coronation on May 6 but decided after the commission that she was going to tune in.

In the run up to the King’s big day, Sarah was busy putting the finishing touches to her portrait in what she described as her ‘small studio space’.

She said working on such a large painting in the studio made her ‘nervous’ as it was the biggest portrait she had completed for some time and she was worried about it being damaged.

‘Nothing is completely safe,’ she joked. ‘One day I came home from school and found [my dogs] Spud and Pino nibbling at the edge of the canvas. Thank goodness I spotted them just in time!’

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