Portraits of Sri Lanka cricket legends Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara will be unveiled tomorrow by MCC in the Lord’s Pavilion.
The paintings will be on display at Lord’s for the first time for the opening day of the Specsavers County Championship match between Middlesex and Surrey, when Kumar Sangakkara will have the rare distinction of walking through the Pavilion and onto the outfield past his own portrait.
Both Jaywardene and Sangakkara took part in multiple sittings with Surrey-based artist, Antony Williams, in the renowned Writing Room at the Home of Cricket. The completed images now take their rightful place alongside pictures of other cricket heroes such as Viv Richards and Glenn McGrath.
I was humbled when I was asked to sit for the portrait
Sangakkara said: "I was humbled when I was asked to sit for the portrait commissioned by MCC. It is a great honour to be on the walls at Lord’s.
I wanted to know how I would be represented through Antony's eyes; not just my expressions or my physical appearance but how he would interpret me as a whole.
Having seen the final portrait, I was so very pleasantly surprised, unnerved and a bit embarrassed seeing myself in a frame on canvas but thoroughly happy with the work done."
MCC Curator of Collections, Adam Chadwick said: "MCC regularly commissions portraits of players who have captivated a generation of cricket fans in all forms of the game, all around the world, and both Kumar and Mahela fit the bill perfectly.
"I am delighted with these additions to the MCC Collection and am sure that they will be enjoyed by visitors to Lord’s for years to come."
The portraits, which were completed over a two-year period during which time each subject sat for the artist on six different occasions, have been on public display at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters’ Annual Portrait Exhibition at the Mall Galleries from 4 - 18 May before being transported to Lord’s in time for this match.
I am delighted with these additions to the MCC Collection
The cricketers are both depicted in casual clothes, reflecting their personal choice.
Sangakkara and Jaywardene are not the only recent additions to the Pavilion.
A new exhibition, located in the Members’ Lounge, proudly showcases Middlesex’s County Championship triumphs throughout the years including the unbeaten season of 1878, the glorious summer of 1947 and 2016’s last-gasp win against Yorkshire, confirming Middlesex as Division One Champions.
Items on display include Denis Compton’s bat from 1947 – used to score a mammoth 3,816 first class runs – and the ball delivered by Toby Roland-Jones in his hat-trick to wrap up last year’s County Championship.