Bristol Cultural Development Partnership and the Bristol Festival of Ideas recently awarded the commission for the new painting Some Who Have Made Bristol Famous to Bristol artist and illustrator Simon Gurr.

Simon, who has worked on many books and magazines, and is the illustrator of The Bristol Storyand Isambard Kingdom Brunel: A Graphic Biography, reflects here on the project:

“This year is my 20th living in Bristol, so I jumped at the chance to submit a proposal for this project, which celebrates the city. I was thrilled to be selected. As an illustrator I’m used to creating fairly small pieces, often on the computer. It will be a welcome change to work on such a large painting. While researching the graphic history book,The Bristol Story, I spent a lot of time admiring Ernest Board’s paintings in Bristol’s City Museum & Art Gallery. Working on The Bristol Story gave me a thirst for knowledge about local figures. Now I have the chance to find out more about them, and to paint them in colour.

Some of the people in the painting are personal heroes of mine. Their fame and the grandeur of Board’s original work combine to make this the most challenging project I have tackled for a long time. It’s a challenge I relish, and I’m extremely grateful to the patrons for making it possible.”

The Bristol Festival of Ideas website will provide regular reports on Simon’s progress. Below are just some of Simon’s preliminary sketches for the submission.