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Diana sitting for Nelson 

Courtesy Shanks Fine Art

Calvine Harvey, Vice-President of Old Master Paintings at Sotheby’s notes, ‘This reflects Shanks’ style. He really tried to capture his subjects. He took the time to get to know them. He was classically trained and there was a formality to the way he worked. He never wanted to paint them just from a photograph,’ Harvey said, ‘In many formal portraits she would not let her guard down.’

The timing of the picture is also important. It was painted in 1994 before the divorce of the Prince and Princess of Wales. She is wearing the same Catherine Walker dress as she did in the iconic Mario Testino portraits around the same time. 

In addition to his own work, Shanks was renowned for his own collection of Old Masters, in particular the rarity of the works by the most important Italian baroque artists.