England’s Chief Medical Officer has become an artist’s muse after people took to sculpting and drawing him and posting their masterpieces online.
Appearing almost daily at the Government’s Downing Street press conferences, his ‘calm and reassuring’ nature has been a hit with viewers.
But after Cornish artist Penny Lally decided to sculpt his face out of clay and share it on social media, he has also become a star of the art world.
Public Health England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty (left) has become an unlikely artist’s muse after Cornish artist Penny Lally sculpted his face out of clay
A bust of Professor Whitty by the Hackney artist Wilfrid Wood
She told The Telegraph: ‘He’s become very popular. I think because he seems to be a very nice, calm man.
‘I was watching the press briefings every day. He had an air of calm and intense knowledge. I was drawn to that. And he has an interesting face.’
Since then, sketches, papier-mache creations and collages have appeared online from across the country.
Most recently comedian Joe Lycett painted a picture of him in a televised art class hosted by Turner Prize-winning Grayson Perry.
Most recently comedian Joe Lycett painted a picture of him in a televised art class hosted by Turner Prize-winning Grayson Perry
BBC journalist Siobhan Harrison uploaded a picture of a wearable giant Chris Whitty head, which she claims was made by her 82-year-old mother
A birthday card for Professor Whitty by Twitter user @egg_socks, whose creativity may be more notable than her spelling
The painting reads: ‘Wash your filthy pig hands,’ in a nod to the Government’s virus hygiene advice.
Staff at University College London Hospitals, where Professor Whitty practiced himself, marked the expert’s recent 54th birthday on April 21 by hanging up bunting of his face.
BBC journalist Siobhan Harrison uploaded a picture of a wearable giant Chris Whitty head, which she claims was made by her 82-year-old mother.
A ‘Chris Whitty Appreciation Society has also sprung up online with his devoted ‘fans’ able to buy mugs and T-shirts with his face on them.
Curator of the National Portrait Gallery in London Alison Smith says the amateur works could be displayed there once Britain comes out of lockdown.
She told the Telegraph gallery bosses are ‘thinking about’ immortalizing him there.
Pen and ink: Professor Chris Whitty as imagined by artist Andrew Woollard
Doctors on the acute medical unit at University College London Hospitals (UCLH) where Professor Whitty worked himself cut out bunting of his face to mark his recent 54th birthday
Ms Smith added: ‘He has become symbolic. ‘He also has distinctive features. This allows people, amateurs, a chance to try their hand at creating a likeness.’
Professor Whitty was struck down by the virus himself after Boris Johnson revealed he had tested positive for the virus.
The epidemiologist self-isolated at home, in line with his own guidance, but was able to work from home having only suffered mild symptoms.
Professor Whitty was born the youngest of four boys in Limpsfield, 11 miles south of Croydon.
He spent much of his childhood in northern Nigeria as his father Kenneth worked for the British Council.
Professor Chris Whitty (pictured walking into Downing Street yesterday) has been a household name ever since the coronavirus outbreak took its hold on Britain last month
Tragically in 1984 when Whitty was just a teenager his father was shot three times in the head as he drove through Athens, Greece.
He studied medicine at Pembroke College Oxford and following in his father’s footsteps, worked in Africa during the 1990s.
Eventually he returned to Britain as a consultant physician and lecturer at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
He became chief scientific advisor to the Department for International Development in 2009, moving to the same role at the Department of Health seven years later.
He was made a Companion of the Order of Bath in 2015 and appointed as Chief Medical Officer last year.
He only took on the role of Chief Medical Officer for Public Health England in October last year, when Dame Sally Davies stepped down.
Until then he had not done any broadcast interviews or held press conferences.
His knowledge of coronavirus, which has impressed Whitehall officials and the broader public, is built on a long history of research into deadly diseases including ebola and malaria.
Courtesy DAILY MAIL