Ian Rankin comes face to face with new portrait in National Gallery

Ian Rankin sees his portrait unveiled at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh
Ian Rankin sees his portrait unveiled at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh

Cardenden author Ian Rankin was in Edinburgh this week for the unveiling of his new portrait, painted by the renowned artist Guy Kinder.

The painting is on display at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery on Queen Street after being commissioned by fellow author Alexander McCall Smith who has donated it to the gallery.

He said: “It gives me the greatest possible pleasure to present this portrait to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

“I think that Guy Kinder has captured Rankin perfectly.

‘‘Ian is a good and kind man and this comes out in the portrait, while at the same time the artist has somehow managed to hint at the atmosphere of Ian’s novels.

“The result is something of a triumph.”

Guy Kinder was born in 1960 and studied drawing and painting at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art under the eminent Scottish artists Alberto Morrocco and David McClure.

He now paints full-time from his Edinburgh studio, and specialises in portraiture.

His portrait depicts Rankin in a contemplative pose, in the surroundings of the Oxford Bar, the Edinburgh pub famously frequented by both his fictional creation, Inspector Rebus, and the author himself.

It was first shown, in the annual exhibition of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in May of last year.

Speaking at the unveiling, Ian Rankin said: “I’ve only been painted a few times in my life, usually as a caricature to accompany a newspaper review of one of my books, so it was slightly unnerving to see how well Guy Kinder had captured me.

“Of course, he found me in my natural habitat - the Oxford Bar - so I’m more at ease than in some situations. I like the painting a lot, but I do wonder what I was thinking at the time.

“Maybe my drink is just out of view...”

Fife’s top author

Born in Cardenden in Fife in 1960, Ian Rankin graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1982 and began writing books while working towards a PhD on modern Scottish fiction.

His Rebus novels, the first of which was published in 1987, are bestsellers across the world, winning Rankin numerous awards.

The latest, ‘Saints Of The Shadow Bible’ was released to great acclaim last year.