Press release

Lorraine Kelly becomes an oil painting for 60th birthday

Published on 29 November 2019

Lorraine Kelly’s face was a picture when a portrait of the television star painted by University of Dundee graduate Sylvia Tarvet was unveiled live on air this morning

On this page

Portrait of Lorraine Kelly

The portrait was commissioned by members of the team working on the Lorraine show as a surprise 60th birthday present for its host, a former rector of the University. They wanted it to be painted by a Dundee student in honour of her connections to the institution and Sylvia’s work was revealed to a delighted Lorraine, along with millions of ITV viewers, as part of a special edition of the show to mark the milestone birthday.

Sylvia, who graduated with a degree in Fine Art from the University’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design in 2017, wished her subject a happy birthday in a recorded message to Lorraine that accompanied the 36cmx64cm oil painting.

“I was very honoured to be selected to paint Lorraine’s portrait and can only hope the final work does her justice,” said Sylvia. “I know that she is a great supporter of Duncan of Jordanstone and its graduates and, as I am trying to establish myself as an artist after graduating, this was a major commission for me.

“Normally I would meet the person I'm painting to do sketches and take my own reference photos. Of course it wasn't possible to do that in this case because the painting was a surprise so it was a little more difficult that other portraits. I'd love to get the chance to paint her from life!

“She has a lovely, open face that is quick to smile, but I wanted to show a more contemplative side of her personality too. The unveiling was very nerve wracking because I really hope she likes and that I have captured not only a physical resemblance but a little of the real Lorraine – kind, contemplative and comfortable in herself.”

Sylvia, who lives in Gauldry in Fife, was selected to exhibit at the prestigious New Contemporaries show at the Royal Scottish Academy after graduating and her work has been shown in other galleries across Scotland. As well as portraiture, she also works extensively with ceramics.

Reacting to the unveiling, Lorraine said, “This is such an honour. That is absolutely beautiful. She’s made me look about 15 years younger! It’s amazing.”


Press Office, University of Dundee