A Thirteen Hour Shift

This is Claire, a theatre practitioner at Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax, Yorkshire. Here she stands about to begin a thirteen hour shift, in her PPE (personal protection equipment), comprising face mask, visor, gloves and gown.  She explained to me how their department was currently sharing their space with the Intensive Care Unit (ICU),  and that they had turned a couple of theatres over to Covid-19 only patients. She often works a thirteen hour shift (days and nights), and is understandably exhausted both physically and mentally.

I made this digital portrait of Claire in aid of the Portraits For NHS Heroes project. This initiative was the brain child of Sky Portrait Artist of the Year 2018 Tom Croft, first introduced on Instagram  at the beginning of April 2020, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. He devised a simple traffic light system whereby artists post a green coloured advert (whether on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook) offering a free portrait for an NHS worker. The artist would in essence pair up with the first NHS worker who got in contact. Then the artist posts up a red coloured advert announcing that they have been paired up. This unprecedented coming together of artists from all over the country, is a humble thank you to all the NHS workers putting their lives on the line caring for Covid-19 patients. The idea has also been adopted in other countries.

Vanity Fair magazine, founded in 1868 by Thomas Gibson Bowles featured caricatures of well-known personalities, note-worthy scientists, sportsmen, writers, artists, politicians, and Royals of the Victorian and Edwardian period. I felt that portraying an NHS worker in this style too was an apt way to elevate an unknown hero into the spotlight for people to see and appreciate. And a thirteen hour shift certainly demands our appreciation.

I’m honoured Claire chose me to do her portrait.


A Thirteen Hour Shift – a Vanity Fair style portrait

These are gentle caricatures, nothing too extreme. As Leslie Ward (Spy) said:

If I could sum up the art in a sentence, it would be that caricature should be a comic impression with a kindly touch, and always devoid of vulgarity.Leslie Ward – Wikipedia

To see more of my Vanity Fair style portraits visit my portfolio here.

To see more of Leslie Ward’s Vanity Fair portrait work click here.


Pencil sketch. Scanned. Painted digitally in Photoshop, using graphics tablet and stylus. Textures my own.

Share this post