Page last updated at 23:24 GMT, Thursday, 18 September 2008 00:24 UK

Princess's portrait goes on show

Princess Margaret portrait by Pietro Annigoni
Princess Margaret is depicted in an English garden setting

A painting of Princess Margaret which hung on the wall of her Kensington Palace apartment is going on display at London's National Portrait Gallery.

The 1957 portrait by Italian artist Pietro Annigoni was sold off in 2006 by the Princess's son, Viscount Linley, who then bought it back anonymously.

Annigoni also painted two portraits of the Queen, one of which also hangs in the gallery.

The artist and Princess spoke French during the 33 sittings for the artwork.

'Aura of sensuality'

Annigoni, who died in 1988, expressed an interest in painting the Queen's younger sister when he was painting the first of his portraits of the monarch in 1954.

The sittings began in 1956, a year after Princess Margaret called off her plans to marry Group Captain Peter Townshend.

She is depicted in an English garden, and was described by the artist as being "enveloped in an aura of sensuality".

The painting was among a collection of the Princess's personal effects that were auctioned by Viscount Linley to foot a 3m inheritance tax bill on her estate.

His reason for buying back the portrait for 680,000 - three times its sale estimate - were not disclosed, though he chose to lift his anonymity after speculation about the buyer's identity.

Princess Margaret died in February 2002 after suffering a stroke, six weeks before the death of the Queen Mother.


SEE ALSO
Fifties portrait tops Queen poll
03 Apr 06 |  Entertainment
Princess Margaret dies
09 Feb 02 |  UK News

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