National Portrait Gallery Unveils a "Gothic" Portrait of Isabella Blow

LONDON.- A cacophony of stuffed animals dramatically spot-lit onto a wall to form a portrait silhouette of the late fashion icon Isabella Blow has been acquired by the National Portrait Gallery. It goes on display at the Gallery tomorrow and a talk about the work will be given there by the artists at 7pm as part of the Gallery’s Late Shift programme (23 September 2010). The unusual portrait made of 15 taxidermy animals (including birds, a rat and a snake), wood and fake moss, together with a heel from one of Blow’s own Manolo Blahnik shoes and her trademark lipstick, is a vivid combination of sculpture, installation and light projection. In the resulting silhouette of a head, Isabella Blow appears to be wearing one of the extraordinary hats designed for her by Phillip Treacy, which often featured taxidermy. The artists were fascinated by what they saw as Blow’s gothic quality and chose