After what must have been a very proud day on January 11th for Paul Emsley, the Glasgow-born artist was not prepared for the onslaught of criticism he faced.
Emsley was selected from a shortlist to paint the Duchess of Cambridge, which he began working on last May. Though Her Royal Highness and the Duke of Cambridge were delighted with the portrait, it didn’t take away the sting of caustic reviews.
“Some of the words written about it were so personal. I’d be inhuman if I said it didn’t affect me,” Mr Emsley told Hello! Magazine. “When you take on commissions like this it is hazardous and you expect a bit of flak, but I expected nothing like the criticism I have received. I didn’t expect it to go to the levels it did.”
Unfortunately, we were part of that hate parade (I dare you to find someone who wasn’t).
“It felt like a bit of a witch hunt and people who have not even seen my portrait joined in with what quickly became a circus,” Emsley continued. ”The worst thing is it was not only destructive to me, but particularly upsetting for my two daughters and my wife.
“It really wasn’t pleasant and I stopped reading what had been written. I have coped with the criticism by going back into my studio and getting on with it.
“At first the attacks were so vicious that there was a point where I myself doubted that the portrait of the Duchess was any good. But now I’ve had time to reflect, I am still happy with it and am getting on with my life. There is nothing I would have changed.”