Peter Blake’s portrait of Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis unveiled | Glastonbury Festival

A portrait of Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis by English pop artist Sir Peter Blake was unveiled at the music festival.

The portrait, unveiled on Blake’s 90th birthday, was commissioned by London’s National Portrait Gallery (NPG) in 2019 and will be displayed there when it reopens in 2023 once construction work is complete.

The portrait shows Eavis, 86, standing outside the famous Pyramid Stage at Worthy Farm in Pilton, Somerset, where the festival is taking place for the first time in three years following cancellations due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The five-day music and arts event, one of the largest of its kind in the world, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

Eavis, who organizes the festival alongside his daughter Emily Eavis, said: “So happy to have been painted by my old friend Peter…a rare treat for a dairy farmer in Somerset!”

Eavis grew up at Worthy Farm and joined the British Merchant Navy as a young man. He returned to the farm at the age of 19 following the death of his father. In 1970, 16 years after inheriting the 150-acre dairy farm, he hosted the first Glastonbury Festival, which has been held on the same site ever since.

Both Eavis and Blake have received CBEs – Eavis in 2007 and Blake in 2022 – in recognition of their contribution to the arts.

Blake has strong ties to the music world. He is best known for co-creating the cover design for the Beatles album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. His other best-known works include covers for two of The Who’s albums, the cover for Band Aid’s single Do They Know It’s Christmas? and the Live Aid concert poster.

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In 1991 he made a screen print for the NPG titled T for the Beatles – a revival of his 1962 Beatles painting – and the gallery also exhibited his double portrait of art dealer Leslie Waddington and his wife, the art expert. antique jewelry Clodagh Waddington.

Blake said: “I visited the first Glastonbury in 1970 and have loved the festival ever since. After receiving the commission, we took Michael to lunch at a posh West End restaurant. He arrived resplendent in his trademark denim shorts, which stopped the restaurant in its tracks.

“I knew then that I had to include them in the portrait. I hope my painting encapsulates Michael’s free spirit, joyful energy and love of life.

Jan G. Gilbert