Page last updated at 05:46 GMT, Friday, 24 July 2009 06:46 UK

Oldest man portrait is unveiled

Portrait of Henry Allingham by Dan Llewelyn Hall
Henry Allingham had a 'tremendous presence', the artist said

A portrait of ex-serviceman Henry Allingham completed days before his death last weekend is being unveiled.

Artist Dan Llywelyn Hall, said it was an "enormous privilege" to have painted Mr Allingham, who at 113 was the world's oldest man.

His portrait will later be sold to raise funds for the ex-forces care home where Mr Allingham lived.

Mr Hall, from south Wales, said the work was a tribute to the veteran, whose life spanned three centuries.

"It was a pure coincidence that I went to paint him just six or seven days before he died."

Mr Hall, from Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, spent about three hours with Mr Allingham and a nurse at the St Dunstan's care home for blind ex-service personnel near Brighton in Sussex making studies for the completed portrait which measures 3ft by 2ft 6in (91cm by 76cm).

Steely stuff

"He was very alert and articulate throughout, speaking very clearly and singing songs for much of the time. He was quite a thinker," said the artist.

"He had a tremendous presence."

Mr Hall, who is 28, has also painted a portrait of "Last Tommy" Harry Patch, who at 111 is the last surviving veteran who experienced the trenches of World War I.

The artist said he thought it very important that the veterans who he said were "made of steely stuff" were recorded in this way, so that people of his own generation could connect with them.

His latest portrait of Mr Allingham which is being unveiled on Friday for a BBC documentary, defines his "elegant appearance" and "charming character".

Military honours

"I wanted to emphasise his bold fingers and his gestures. I felt that was his means of expression."

The finished work will go on show at a London gallery in November and later be sold in aid of the care home, which approached Mr Hall to paint the portrait.

A public funeral with full military honours for Mr Allingham took place at St Nicholas Church in Brighton on 30 July.

One of Mr Hall's studies for the finished portrait will be presented to Mr Allingham's grandson, who lives in America.



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SEE ALSO
Funeral date set for oldest man
21 Jul 09 |  Sussex
WWI veteran 'part of our family'
20 Jul 09 |  Sussex
Obituary: Henry Allingham
18 Jul 09 |  UK
UK man is world's oldest at 113
19 Jun 09 |  Sussex
UK's oldest man awarded doctorate
22 May 09 |  England
Oldest man writes his life story
23 Sep 08 |  Sussex

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