Isaiah Berlin

Meeting a former pupil of Isaiah Berlin in Beijing reminded me of the commissioned portrait which Lucian Freud agreed to undertake in 1996 not long before Berlin’s death (he was a bit grumpy about not having been asked to undertake a commission much earlier in his career). I had not realised that there were multiple drawings (see below). All I remember is that they met for lunch in Wilton’s (Berlin had a set in Albany) and that the portrait was not completed to Freud’s satisfaction before Berlin died in November 1997. Instead of going to the NPG as had been intended, it was given to Lady Berlin and she in turn apparently left it to Wolfson.


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