Miles Jupp sat the portrait backstage at the Cambridge Arts Theatre, between performances, when he was appearing as David Tomlinson in the play ‘The Life I Lead’ by the comedy writer James Kettle.
I have some exclusive quotes for you from both Miles Jupp and the play write James Kettle. The one from Miles is quite long, but please feel free to take anything from it.
“I’m so thrilled with the picture. It’s such a lovely thing to be asked to do.
I sat for this portrait when I was performing The Life I Lead for a week in Cambridge. By then I had been doing the play over a course of about seven months, and so was well into it. Martyn asked if I would perform some portions of the play for him. Although I don’t really look like David Tomlinson, I do share some mannerisms with him, and once I was in the costume and speaking James Kettle’s words I honestly felt like I was a different person. Performing chunks of a play out of context like this ought should, by rights, make one feel self-conscious, but I felt oddly at ease. An audience of one is still an audience, I suppose, and Martyn has a very relaxed manner.
I was really thrilled when I saw the portrait. Although it’s of a man in a bowler hat and wing collar, it is still very modern.
The level of detail is quite astonishing to me, as well as the fact that it seems very three-dimensional to me and that so much is going on behind my eyes, which isn’t always the case in real life.
It was very flattering to be asked to sit for Martyn, and the picture is a reminder to me of a very happy time. The play was difficult to perform just in terms of the sheer responsibility of a one-person show, but was also incredibly satisfying and the audiences were really terrific. And when I look at the portrait I think about Tomlinson and his wonderful family, who I met so many times during the run of the show, and all the people who worked on it, both in the rehearsal room and on tour.” - Miles Jupp.
“One of the aims of the play was to yoke together two great comic actors from different generations, and Martyn's stunning portrait captures exactly that - two geniuses in one body. It's a work that really captures what I hope is the spirit of the piece, playful but also possessed of hidden depths.” - James Kettle.
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