The Guardian: Mark Brown

A portrait of a young Dylan Thomas, with red curly locks and a fresh, butter-wouldn’t-melt expression, has been acquired for the National Portrait Gallery.

The cherubic painting, by Thomas’s friend Augustus John, has been on long-term loan and permanent display at the gallery for 20 years.

In a deal brokered by Christie’s the painting’s owner has sold it to the gallery for £214,750 with the money coming from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (£94,800), the Art Fund (£70,000) and the Thompson Family Charitable Trust (£49,950).

It is one of two portraits by the bohemian artist John. The two men met in the early 1930s in the Fitzroy Tavern in Charlotte Street in Londonand became friends and drinking buddies, remaining so even though Thomas won the heart of John’s much younger lover, the chorus line dancer Caitlin Macnamara, Thomas’s future wife. …Read More

 Detail from the Augustus John portrait of Dylan Thomas that has been acquired by the gallery. Photograph: Augustus John/National Portrait Gallery London