J. K. Rowling has said that the character and plot of the Harry Potter books came to her “fully formed” during a train journey in 1990. She worked on the manuscript in longhand, often in a café because she could not afford a heated work space. With the assistance of a Scottish Arts Council award, she was able to complete the novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (1997). The series has now been translated into sixty-one languages, sold more than a quarter of a billion copies worldwide, and been made into major feature films. Both Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000) and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003) consecutively held the record for the fastest-selling book in history. Rowling's numerous literary awards include the Whitbread Award for Best Children's Book.
Stuart Pearson Wright is a London-based painter who studied at the Slade School of Fine Art. He was the winner of the British National Portrait Gallery’s BP Portrait Award in 2001. He has spoken of wanting, in this portrait of Rowling, to create a “magical” work that mixes trompe-l’oeil painting with internal lighting effects.
By Stuart Pearson Wright (born 1975)
Oil on board construction with colored pencil on paper, 2005
National Portrait Gallery, London
© National Portrait Gallery, London