Hannah Miley Portrait Commission

With Hannah Miley doing so incredibly well in the Commonwealth games currently taking place in Glasgow lets look back at a portrait commission carried out within the school by local painter and Gray’s graduate Stuart Allan.

Stuart was commissioned to paint a  portrait of Olympic Swimmer and RGU sports scholar Hannah Miley. Stuart who Graduated from Gray’s back in 2004 was invited back by Keith Grant the head of painting to take on the commission.

“it initially came out of the blue… I literally jumped at the chance to do it”

Stuart continued his practice once he graduated from Gray’s painting around other commitments but maintaining a regular amount of commissioned portraits and personal work. His work of the last few years have mainly focused on the head so this painting was a return to larger scale paintings of the whole figure. The portrait was a joy to work on and once we decided on what pose to develop for the painting it didn’t take too long for the final piece to take shape. “I love working on portraits of those who inspire me and projects like these are a great way to recognise the achievements of the subject and bring them together with an artist.”

Stuart Allan copy


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The Completed Painting

Robert Gordon University (RGU) commissioned Stuart to produce the portrait to mark Hannah’s success in the pool. The painting, measuring almost two metres square, captures Hannah poised to dive into a swimming pool. It was unveiled on Friday, October 4 at the reception of RGU: SPORT, where it will remains on display, in front of invited guests from the north-east’s sporting, arts and business communities. IMG_1580 copy

Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski introducing the painting.

Hannah, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Applied Sports and Exercise Science from RGU this summer, combined the project with preparations to defend her gold medal in the 400m individual medley at next year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. She said: “It was a lot of fun working with Stuart on the project, he’s done a fantastic job and the portrait is incredibly life-like. Seeing how the painting developed has been a fascinating experience and I couldn’t be happier with the result. I still train at RGU: SPORT and to see it each time I come in will give me a great lift as I continue to improve my performance in the pool.” Hannah, who studied at RGU’s School of Health Sciences, was also an RGU: SPORT Scholar and benefitted from a tailor-made package of support from the university which allowed her to combine her studies with the demands of training and competing against the best swimmers in the world. She said: “The scholarship scheme was very helpful and meant I could cover the costs of attending university, allowing me to focus completely on studying and my training. It’s been a huge boost to my preparations for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where I hope to defend my title and win more gold for Scotland.”IMG_1583 copy

Stuart Presented Miley with drawings he made whilst producing the painting.

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Local and national media were in attendance to hear Miley’s responce to the painting.

Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, the Principal of RGU, said: “We’re proud to honour Hannah with this wonderful portrait which will be displayed at RGU: SPORT to mark her achievements. It takes an artist of significant talent to create a stunning portrait like this and I’m sure a lot of people will be keen to see it when they visit our state-of-the-art sports facilities.” He added: “Hannah has been a fantastic champion of the university and we look forward to continuing that relationship now she has graduated. Hannah is still a familiar face at Garthdee as she trains on campus and we hope that the success she continues to enjoy will inspire other promising athletes to apply for sport scholarship support at the university so we can help them to reach their potential.”

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