An article from the British Times Online follows:
I hope you enjoy the photo's and look for more photo's by other artist in the future at Markham Street Gallery.October 04, 2005
The truth behind the Singing ButlerBy David
Lister, Scotland Correspondent
IT IS the bestselling print in Europe, more popular than Monet’s Water Lillies or
Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, and
has helped to amass a multimillion-pound fortune for the man
who painted it.
But Jack Vettriano, the self-taught artist whose
stylised depictions of lovers, butlers andgirls in polkadot dresses
are reproduced on everything from cards to mouse mats,
admittedyesterday that his most iconic
picture, The Singing Butler, was inspired by a cheap artist’smanual.
For years the art establishment has shunned
Vettriano, triggering accusations ofsnobbishness by claiming that the
former miner cannot paint, but just colours in.
glee of the art elite, Vettriano’s agent has had to admit that some of his most
famouspictures were based on pictures in a
£16.99 reference book.
Tom Hewlett, the director of the
Portland Gallery, which acts for Vettriano, did not evenattempt to deny the obvious
similarities between images in The Illustrator’s FigureReference Manual and Vettriano’s
paintings after a Scottish newspaper announced that ithad uncovered “Jack’s
Mr Hewlett said: “It is widely known that Jack
is a self-taught artist and it seemsunsurprising that as, in his early
painting years he had neither time nor the money at hisdisposal to work with real-life models,
that he should use a teaching manual such as this.”
He added: “Vettriano’s skill lies in his ability to create narrative paintings
with which theviewer becomes involved.
“He is a master of generating atmosphere in his paintings
and bringing to life the characterswithin them. In this way he transforms
mundane characters into extraordinary ones andeveryday scenes into special
The Singing Butler, the original of
which sold for nearly £750,000 at auction last year, bearsa surprising likeness to a
series of figures in The Illustrator’s Figure Reference Manual,which cost £16.99 in 1987, the year
Vettriano took up painting.
The manual also
contains several other images, published in the Daily Record yesterday,that bear an uncanny resemblance
to Vettriano’s paintings Dance Me To The End of Love,Waltzers and Elegy for the Dead
Vettriano’s work has been bought by a
range of celebrities including the Hollywood star JackNicholson, the Scottish comedian
and actor Robbie Coltrane and Sir Alex Ferguson, theManchester United manager.
His images are so popular that he has been dubbed
“the people’s painter”.
He started to dabble with
art after his girlfriend bought him a painting set in the 1980s andhas been studiously ignored by
the major galleries and exhibitions, even in his nativeScotland, where the Kirkcaldy Museum
and Art Gallery in Fife is the only one to own hiswork.
In an interview last year Vettriano, 53, who makes about £500,000 per year
fromroyalties, said of The
Singing Butler: “It was one of these paintings I ought not to havebeen able to do.
“It was like I cheated. It was 1992, I was hardly
in the back door of the art world when I didit. Now we all get fed up seeing
Richard Demarco, a fellow Scottish artist and
an honorary member of the Royal ScottishAcademy, said that it was
irrelevant whether Vettriano used the book or not.
He said: “The figures in the book are not art. He has used that useful
information to turn alady in a
dress into a maid, two figures dancing into two lovers. He has given them emotion.”