Paul Mescal poses for his portrait  – but will Connell's chain be included?

Normal People star Paul Mescal is among 24 celebrities taking part in Portrait Artist of the Year
Paul Mescal poses for his portrait  – but will Connell's chain be included?

Paul Mescal sitting for a portrait on Sky Arts' Portrait Artist of the Year.

Arguably the biggest star of 2020 will have his portrait painted for television - and our viewing pleasure.

Portrait Artist of the Year (PAOTY) returns to Sky Arts next month and among this year's celebrity sitters is the star of Normal People and The Deceived, Paul Mescal.

Fresh from his attendance at the virtual Emmys, where he was nominated for his role as Connell in Normal People, Mescal will be seen posing for the portrait in black trousers and a white t-shirt — but will Connell's famous chain make an appearance around his neck?

Judge Kate Bryan shared a socially-distanced snap with the actor in July at Battersea Arts Centre during filming, making a reference to the well-known accessory, which has a cult status of its own now: "Connell’s chain, a starry dress and a visit from Juno. Pretty good Monday."

Also among the 24 celebrities sitting for portraits is Co Antrim actor James Nesbitt, star of Cold Feet and The Hobbit trilogy.

Amateur and professional artists chosen from thousands of entrants will compete to see who has what it takes to impress judges Tai Shan Schierenberg, Kathleen Soriano and Kate Bryan. 

The latest series was recorded within strict safety protocols at Battersea Arts Centre.

Sitting this year are: 

  • Paul Mescal (Actor)
  • James Nesbitt (Actor)
  • Pam Hogg (Fashion Designer)
  • Ray BLK (Musician)
  • Katie Piper (Model/TV Presenter)
  • Robert Rinder (TV Personality)
  • Don Letts (Film Director/Musician)
  • Fay Ripley (Actor)
  • Ncuti Gatwa (Actor)
  • Lady Glenconner (author)
  • Mirren Mack (Actor)
  • Trevor McDonald
  • The Vivienne (TV Personality)
  • Sian Clifford (Actor)
  • Eddie Marsan (Actor)
  • Deborah James (Author, Broadcaster)
  • Eamonn Walker (Actor)
  • Melanie Sykes (TV Presenter)
  • David Haig (Actor)
  • Jane Horrocks (Actor)
  • Kwame Kwei Armah (Actor)
  • Katherine Grainger 
  • Fred Sirieix (Restaurateur and TV Presenter).

Nine artists will compete in each heat, and the three heat winners go on to paint Booker-prize winning author Bernardine Evaristo in the semi-final. 

The three finalists have a few days to paint a commission, and then compete to portray the comedian and raconteur Eddie Izzard. 

This season’s Portrait Artist of the Year winner will receive a £10,000 (€10,950) commission to paint world-famous ballet dancer and Director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet Carlos Acosta, which will be exhibited at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

Portrait Artist of the Year will begin on October 14.

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