A porrait painting of the former Chancellor of Exeter University, the late Lord Alexander of Weedon has been unveiled at a special ceremony in Exeter. The university commissioned figurative painter Andy Pankhurst to produce a portrait which is to be displayed in the reception of the university’s Alexander Building.
The Drama department is housed in the Alexander Building which was named in commemoration of the former Chancellor, following the official opening by Lady Alexander in 2007.
Andy Pankhurst was commissioned on the recommendation of Lady Alexander having first met Andy through Lord Alexander’s position on the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). The artist’s connection with Lord Alexander was established when he was appointed to cover the England cricket tour of Australia in 2002-3 by the MCC which included exhibition at Lords Cricket ground. The commission was instigated by Lord Alexander who was the president and chairman of the MCC at the time.
Gina Cox, curator of the Exeter University’s fine art collection told the Devon Week: “Andy’s long standing relationship with Lord and Lady Alexander has helped to achieve the sympathetic capture of his personality on canvas. It is a wonderful image of Lord Alexander, executed with a brilliant artistic language.”
Andy studied and taught at the Slade School of Fine Art and recently has been lecturing at the National Portrait Gallery. He exhibits with Browse & Darby in London and his work is represented in various public, corporate and private collections and museums in the UK and USA.
Lord Alexander of Weedon died on November 6, 2005 following a long illness. Bob Alexander became a very well known barrister and later chairman of the NatWest Bank. He was installed as Chancellor of the Exeter University in October 1998 and was enormously successful and influential in that post.
Steve Smith Vice Chancellor of Exeter University said: “He was fascinated by the dilemmas and problems of running a university and devoted himself to finding out, in detail, what was going on and, crucially, how staff and students felt about their institution. He served as a sounding board for senior management, and as a passionate advocate for the interests of students.”
“The University of Exeter owes Bob Alexander a debt of gratitude, which extends to his widow Marie, who has been an equally enthusiastic ambassador for the university. We want to make sure that Bob’s name lives on at the University which is why we named a building after him and had a portrait commissioned to further endorse our recognition of him.”
The portrait is displayed in the Alexander Building and is embedded within the University’s Fine Art Collection and joins portraits of previous Chancellors and Vice-chancellors of the University of Exeter.
(image: Lady Alexander with Andy Pankhurst’s portrait of her late husband and former Chancellor of Exeter University Lord Alexander of Weedon)