Page last updated at 10:21 GMT, Thursday, 23 October 2008 11:21 UK

Poignant portrait wins art prize

Philip Ledbury and David Fisher (Pic Peter Stone)
David Fisher, right, said Philip Ledbury, left, was an inspiration

An artist from Bath has won 5,000 for his painting of a terminally ill man.

The portrait, by David Fisher, and entitled "Dead Man Posing", is of Philip Ledbury, 58, who has leukaemia, smiling with a cup of tea and smoking.

Mr Ledbury wore the same suit and tie and carried the same cup as he does in the painting at the award ceremony.

Judges were unanimous in their selection of the winning painting. Mr Fisher also wins a commission to paint a portrait for Bath's Holburne Museum.

'Passion for life'

Mr Fisher, from Midsomer Norton, said: "My most successful paintings have been when the subject has inspired me and I have felt passionate about it.

"None more so than 'Dead Man Posing'. Philip Ledbury has only recently come into my life through art, a man diagnosed three years ago with leukaemia, his passion for life is inspiring.

"His desire to live life to the full - 'quality not quantity' - is a favourite saying of his, plus the wicked sense of humour he has, were enough to create the urge to paint his portrait and, I hope, in turn make a fitting record of the man."

Mr Ledbury, also a painter, from Frome, was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2004 and given a maximum of five years to live.

Alexander Sturgis, director of the Holburne Museum, said: "I am very happy that the panel chose David Fisher's portrait as the winner of the Holburne Portrait Prize.

"It has a wonderfully strong and warm presence and gives one a real sense of knowing the person it depicts.

"It was an even greater pleasure to meet Philip Ledbury on the evening of the prize - complete with shirt, tie and mug - to be in the presence of the painting made flesh."

Previous winners of the portrait competition have painted the jazz saxophonist Andy Sheppard, Glastonbury Festival organiser Michael Eavis, and the three directors of Aardman Animations, Peter Lord, David Sproxton and Nick Park.

The painting is on show at the Chapel Row Gallery in Bath until 28 October from 1000 to 1700 BST.

The Holburne Museum is currently closed while it is being refurbished and should re-open in 2010.

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