Bill Gibb, 1943 - 1988 (1987)
About this artwork
The son of an Aberdeenshire farmer, Bill Gibb revolutionised British fashion during the 1970s and 80s. Twiggy, Bianca Jagger and Elizabeth Taylor were among his celebrity clients. He had a passion for the art of the Renaissance, which inspired his trademark eveningwear: fabulous chiffon dresses embellished with sequins, embroidery or appliqué. Michael Leonard's drawing of him mimics a page torn from an illustrated book, with Gibb posed as a stylish sixteenth-century courtier.
Leonard was born in Bangalore, India. He studied design and illustration at St Martin's School of Art, London from 1954 to 57. In the 1970s he took up painting, having worked as an illustrator throughout the previous decade. A figurative artist, Leonard is particularly known for his nudes, which combine photorealistic intensity with abstract qualities of design. He is also a successful and popular portrait painter; he was commissioned by the Reader's Digest magazine to paint Queen Elizabeth II in celebration of her sixtieth birthday (National Portrait Gallery, London).