An impressive portrait of Tristan Rees Roberts, architect of the Jerwood Library, Trinity Hall, Cambridge was unveiled on 26 February 2020. Painted by Antony Williams RP, PS, NEAC, using his signature and exacting medium of egg tempera, the portrait captures with intensity the gaze of its sitter.
I chose Antony first and foremost becuase of my admiration for his work, and because I felt a portrait in tempera would suit both the sitter and the setting. Antony manages to achieve a combination of painstaking attention to detail and vibrant freshness, a blend of tradtion and innovation, which it seems to me are also some of the hallmarks of Tristan's Jerwood Library.
- Dr Alexander Marr, FRHistS, FSA, Director, Centre for Visual Culture; Reader in the History of Early Modern Art University of Cambridge; Fellow and Tutor, Trinity Hall.
Rees Roberts, himself a Trinity Hall man, appears very at home perched on a workbench on the top floor of the Jerwood Library which he designed as an extenstion to the Thornton Building. Supported with a major capital grant of £1.4 million by the Jerwood Foundation, the award-winning Jerwood Library was officially opened in May 1999.
Explaining the motivation for commissioning the portrait, Nigel Grimshaw commented:
“My reason for proposing to the college that it should have a portrait of the architect of the Jerwood Library was simple. I could see that the world-class architectural status of the building had not been matched by a similar recognition of its designer. As someone involved in the business of making buildings, I understood better than most the love that went into its creation. It is an absolutely key component. Having admired Tristan’s enormous contribution to our city of Cambridge over many years, I was immensely happy to take this initiative. It fits perfectly with my niche of creative philanthropy, which is to address a lacuna in a fruitful and tangible manner. As a fellow alumnus from our university, I was also conscious that the portrait, hanging in the library, would hearten and encourage generations of gifted students as to what they can achieve if they apply similar love to their chosen professional field or calling.”
Commissioned by Nigel Grimshaw, a friend of Trinity Hall, the portrait has been generously donated to the College and hangs in the entrance to the Jerwood Library for all to admire.