Principal’s portrait unveiled

Friday 19 December 2008

The official portrait of the outgoing Principal & Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews, Dr Brian Lang, has been unveiled.

Over 200 guests witnessed the unveiling of the oil painting at Dr Lang’s departure dinner, hosted by the University’s Chancellor Sir Menzies Campbell on Thursday, December 18th.

Three months in the making, the fifty by forty inch canvas by one of Scotland’s leading artists will become a piece of University history.

Artist Victoria Crowe revealed the most recent addition to a long-established collection of portraits of some of the greatest figures in the University’s history.

The painting will be hung in the Senate Room alongside the University’s collection of portraits of Principals and Chancellors that includes famous figures from the 16th to the 21st centuries.

Victoria, who is based in the Scottish Borders, was approached by the University in June his year, having been chosen from a shortlist of leading artists.

After an initial meeting with Dr Lang and the selection of her favourite ceremonial robe, the black and silver Vice Chancellor’s gown, Victoria set up her studio in the former dining room of 9 The Scores – a room that Victoria describes as having “fantastic light coming in off the North Sea”.

Victoria has painted a number of portraits of notable figures over the years, including the Principals of Heriot Watt and Aberdeen Universities and Tam Dalyell MP.  Her work is held in a number of public and private collections, including that of HM The Queen.

Describing her subject as a “very conscientious sitter”, Victoria was keen to portray not only the Principal, but also his role as an ambassador to the University.

She explained, “I try not to just paint what a person looks like, but what they have contributed; in this case I have referred to the town as well as the University.”

Victoria relocated to St Andrews for one week in August, and every morning sitter and artist met to create a work that speaks of the University as well as Dr Brian Lang’s period here.

In the eight years since Dr Brian Lang’s appointment, he has led the University through some of the most important developments of its near 600-year history from a £100M investment in estate to its firm establishment as one of the UK’s leading higher education institutions.

The portrait was completed with two formal sittings in Victoria’s Edinburgh studio.  The artist is pleased with the end result that will become a piece of University history.

Further information on Victoria and her current work can be found at




Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Fiona Armstrong, Press Officer on 01334 462530 / 462529, Mobile : 07730 415 015 or Email: [email protected]
Ref:  Principal’s portrait 19/12/08
View the latest University press releases at

Category University news

Related topics

Share this story