Belfast Telegraph

Portrait of Eamonn Holmes by Colin Davidson unveiled to mark 60th birthday

The portrait was unveiled on Saturday. Pictured are Eamonn Holmes, Ruth Langsford and artist Colin Davidson. Photo by Paul McConville for Content88
The portrait was unveiled on Saturday. Pictured are Eamonn Holmes, Ruth Langsford and artist Colin Davidson. Photo by Paul McConville for Content88
Gareth Cross

By Gareth Cross

A portrait of Eamonn Holmes by Belfast artist Colin Davidson has been unveiled to mark the popular television presenter's 60th Birthday.

The portrait was commissioned by wife Ruth Langsford and family through the couple's management company as a present to celebrate Eamonn's landmark.

Eamonn sat for a number of sessions with Mr Davidson as he worked on the piece.

The painting took six months to complete and was unveiled at Mr Davidson's Bangor studio in front of Eamonn, Ruth and their children on Saturday evening.

The celebrations continued with a meal and another surprise party for Eamonn in Belfast to mark his milestone birthday.

Mr Davidson said the portrait was well received by the family who felt that he had managed to "capture the essence" of the much loved former UTV presenter.

He said it was among the favourite of his works due to the connection he established with Eamonn during their sessions.

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The Belfast artist is renowned for his portraits, with past works including former US President Bill Clinton, singer Ed Sheeran, actor Liam Neeson and Queen Elizabeth II.

Mr Davidson said he was "thrilled to be asked" to paint the portrait.

"We had never met before, but I was familiar with him growing up, he was presenting on UTV when I was in my late teens and he's been a fixture ever since," he said.

The portrait of Eamonn Holmes by Colin Davidson
The portrait of Eamonn Holmes by Colin Davidson

"I have a huge amount of respect for him and the way he's gone about everything in his career.

"I don't rank my paintings, but I was particularly pleased with this one, I felt like I got to know him when he sat for the painting and I think that's reflected in the piece."

Mr Davidson said that Eamonn's love of Northern Ireland really came across in their meetings.

"He utterly loves it, he loves to get back home to Northern Ireland and his affection for it is genuine," he said.

"I think for him Belfast really is and always will be home."

The Belfast artist said that while Eamonn sat for the painting he did not allow him to view it until the official unveiling.

Eamonn shares an embrace with artist Colin Davidson. Photo by Paul McConville for Content88
Eamonn shares an embrace with artist Colin Davidson. Photo by Paul McConville for Content88
Eamonn Holmes and artist Colin Davidson with the portrait. Photo by Paul McConville for Content88
Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford with the portrait. Photo by Paul McConville for Content88
The portrait by Colin Davidson. Photo by Paul McConville for Content88
Eamonn Holmes and family with artist Colin Davidson. Photo by Paul McConville for Content88

"I work on a lot of paintings at the same time and it took me six months to complete, we fit it around Eamonn's schedule," Mr Davidson explained.

"He wanted to see it, but I preferred to show him the finished product, I didn't want any guidance or for him to form an opinion before it was done."

The unveiling was warmly greeted on Saturday night.

"They were delighted, it was a lovely occasion, they really felt it captured his essence" Mr Davidson said.

The portrait will be the icing on the cake for Eamonn who turned 60 on December 3.

His wife Ruth whisked the Northern Ireland favourite away for a surprise trip to Vienna to mark the occasion earlier this week. 

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