An acclaimed Jewish artist, whose previous sitters included pop icon Elton John and the actor Peter Sellers, has painted Captain Tom and will donate the copyright proceeds to the National Health Service (NHS).
Suzi Malin is to present the portrait of Captain Tom to the fundraising army veteran as a birthday present once it is finished.
Colonel Moore, who won the public’s affection after raising over £30 million for the NHS by walking laps of his garden, turned 100 last week. Tributes poured in for the centenarian, who was honoured with an RAF flypast and a personal note from the Queen.
“He had given us so much hope and also we feel that we can lean on him,” Malin said on Friday. “He’s an amazing man and he’s an inspiration for all of us, and I think that the coronavirus has brought out the best in a lot of people and it’s shown how valiant people can be.”
Colonel Moore, who was promoted to the military rank last week, is depicted in the portrait against a gold leaf panel, with his Second World War medals pinned to his lapel.
“I hope it’s prophetic. I painted it in a long vertical gold leaf panel. I put him at the bottom of the panel, so it looks as though he’s kneeling down and receiving a knighthood,” Malin said.
The artist’s 1978 portrait of Elton John painted before the musician became a father of two with his husband David Furnish was “prophetic”, she said.
“I had painted Elton John for the National Portrait Gallery on gold leaf many years ago, and there were two little angels I painted above his head,” she explained.
“A couple of years ago in Rome, I met up with Elton John and his two little boys were in the car and I looked at them and they had heads of golden hair […] It was prophetic when I painted him because I didn’t know he was going to have two sons.”
Malin, who has nine works displayed at the National Portrait Gallery, is hopeful her portrait of Captain Tom will be displayed at the art gallery. “He’s a national treasure and he deserves to be held in high esteem by all the land,” she said.