Cookie banner

This site uses cookies. Select "Block all non-essential cookies" to only allow cookies necessary to display content and enable core site features. Select "Accept all cookies" to also personalize your experience on the site with ads and partner content tailored to your interests, and to allow us to measure the effectiveness of our service.

To learn more, review our Cookie Policy, Privacy Notice and Terms of Use.

clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

'The Kate Effect' Applies to Art Despite Royal Painter 'Witch-Hunt'

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

The portrait via Vogue UK

Paul Emsley, the man behind Kate Middleton's official portrait, has commented on the backlash his work received in the last month. He told Hello! magazine, "I'd be inhuman if I said it didn't affect me. When you take on commissions like this it is hazardous and you expect a bit of flak, but I expected nothing like the criticism I received. It felt like a bit of a witch-hunt and people who had not even seen my portrait joined in."

He added, "I believe half the problem is that the portrait doesn't photograph well and I would encourage people to go and see it [at the National Portrait Gallery]." And people within range of the museum have done just that. In droves. The gallery reported a 7,000 visitor spike during its first week, which means "The Kate Effect" applies to gallery admittance as well. The Telegraph also reports that postcards of the work are the fastest selling ever. Every second customer to the shop snagged one at the peak of their popularity.

Likewise, a spokesperson for the gallery said: "There are always huge numbers of people looking at the painting for a long time—the visitors are quite engaged with it." No kidding, anyone who has seen a French Connection bargain bin fight could tell you how "engaged" Royal fans are with anything on or around Kate Middleton.
· The Duchess of Cambridge's Portrait Painter Hits Back at His Critics [Telegraph]
· Kate Middleton's Portrait: 'That Is Really Who She Is' [Racked]