Ed Sheeran sits for portrait by Belfast artist Colin Davidson
Singer Ed Sheeran has sat for a portrait by Belfast-based artist Colin Davidson, which will be unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery in London.
The first ever professional portrait painted of the singer came after a chance encounter between Davidson and Sheeran's father, who is an art historian and curator.
The pair arranged a sitting where Sheeran posed for the artist at his home in Suffolk in August 2015.
During the three hour meeting, Davidson made 20 drawings from life and took reference photographs to create the final four-foot square oil painting.
The finished product shows the singer wearing a dark top, looking thoughtfully off to the side of the frame.
Davidson said: "When painting a portrait I am looking for the moment when the person is almost unaware of me being there and I feel I got it with Ed.
"I deliberately didn't want Ed to perform and that was odd for him. But there is a youthful aspect to the portrait but also something experienced beyond his years."
He added: " It has been a true privilege to get to know Ed and his family. It is my hope that this new portrait offers an alternative insight, one which allows the viewer to glimpse the source of Ed's unique creativity."
Davidson's previous portrait sitters have included Brad Pitt, Liam Neeson, Sir Kenneth Branagh, and Jamie Dornan.
In December 2015 he was commissioned by TIME Magazine to paint the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, for the cover for its 'Person of the Year’ issue.
The artist was also invited to paint an official portrait of the Queen, which was unveiled in November 2016.
He said of his paintings: " 'They are all deliberately the same size; the idea is that everyone I paint is an equal and that format allows the face to become something else.
"If you see a painting of a face that is life-size, it never becomes anything else, it is a head. If it is smaller or bigger it can become something else."
Davidson has painted another portrait of Sheeran, which is in a private collection.
Dr Nicholas Cullinan, director of the National Portrait Gallery, said: "I am very pleased that the National Portrait Gallery has been able to acquire this striking portrait of Ed Sheeran, who is undoubtedly one of today's most popular and influential musicians and singer-songwriters."