• Mary Duffy

What is the value of a portrait?

I was sending a portrait to the UK recently and the woman in An Post asked me what was the value of it?

Watercolour portrait of my mother

I paused. I knew the amount the customer had paid, but that wasn't its value.


Family portrait commissions are of huge sentimental value and become part of your family's heritage. It's your mother or father or children or grandchildren, or even your much-loved pet, immortalised in a permanent record of what they look like.


But it's not just an accurate likeness. A good portrait will capture something of their character...the essence of the individual.




When I was asked to paint the Portraits of Integration for the National Integration Fund, I got a chance to tell the sitter's story as a way to acknowledge their achievements. You can read about it in The Meath Chronicle here.




Watercolour portrait of young woman in front of Polish flag

They could have had photos taken of them, but they chose portraits. Why?


I think it's because they wanted to elevate the sitters in the eyes of others by creating a lasting tribute to them.


And that's the thing about portraits, they will last! A framed hand-drawn pencil sketch or a watercolour portrait, once taken care of, will last beyond our lifetime and truly becomes a family heirloom.



Here's what a recent customer said in a Google review:


"Mary has produced two amazing family portraits for me which immediately became treasured family heirlooms."



Wedding portrait family heirloom


So whether you want to remember someone, celebrate an occasion or mark an achievement, a portrait is the most valuable way of doing that and will be treasured for many years.


And if anyone asks you the value of the portrait, I hope you'll tell them it's priceless ;)



If you have an idea for your own portrait, I'd love to hear from you. You can contact me on the website here, or you can call me on 087 8117331



A photo captures the moment. A portrait celebrates it.

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