I went tonight to the announcement of the winner of this year’s BP Portrait Award. It turned out that it was the 29th. year that the award has been sponsored by BP, which must be one of the longest and most consistent examples of corporate support, now worth £35,000 to the winner, as well as a portrait commission, which makes it one of the biggest prizes in the country. Before BP, it was the John Player Portrait Award, established in 1980, and one of the early examples of title sponsorship in the arts. The winner was Miriam Escofet, a Spanish artist in her fifties, who has painted her mother: a demonstration of the way that the BP Portrait Award keeps alive the tradition of serious and life-like portraiture as a legitimate practice in the arts.