Isabella Watling was born in London in 1990, and spent her formative years in the UK and Australia. From the age of 18 she trained at the Charles H. Cecil Studios in Florence where she returns periodically to teach portrait and figure painting. Isabella now lives and works in London.
Her time at the studio gave Isabella a rigorous training in sight-size portraiture, following the tradition of masters like Van Dyck, Velázquez and Sargent. In keeping with this approach, Isabella’s portraits are painted to the scale of life, under natural light and always directly from the sitter.
Isabella’s portrait of The Importance of Being Glenn was exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery, London for the BP Portrait Award 2012. Claudia Pritchard of The Independent concluded her review of the exhibition as follows:
“BP regulars like the annual game: choose your own winner. Here’s mine: for being not too proud, at only 21, to apprentice herself to Velázquez, Boldini and Singer Sargent, for her romantic, and, yes, painterly The Importance of Being Glenn, for daring to enjoy the dashing and romantic, my vote goes to Isabella Watling. If she can do this now, what a lot could follow.”
Isabella’s full-length portrait of Gina and Cristiano was exhibited at the BP Portrait Award 2014.
During the exhibition Sargent:Portraits of Artists and Friends at the National Portrait Gallery in May 2015, Isabella took a two day Sight-size workshop.
2016 The Royal Society of Portrait Painters at The Mall Galleries, London
2014 Shooting star Chase Art exhibition at The Royal College of Art, London
2014 Young Emerging Artists group exhibition at the Oil and Water Gallery,London
2014 Sargent Today At Morgan Hall, Fairford
2014 BP Portrait Award at The National Portrait Gallery, London
2014 20/21 International Art Fair at The Royal College of Art, London
2014 Group Exhibition at The British Institute, Florence
2013 Shooting Star Chase Art Exhibition at The Royal College of Art, London
2012 Student Exhibition at Charles H. Cecil studios, Florence
2012 BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery, London
The Evening Standard – 12/07/2012, Brian Sewell.
The Independent – 24/06/2012, Claudia Pritchard.
The Jackdaw – June 2012, David Lee.
Pembroke College Cambrigde – March 2016, Unveiling of the portrait of Emma Johnson.