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Unveiling of Eileen Hogan’s Portrait of Mark Damazer

16 February 2022

Mark Damazer and Eileen Hogan
Mark Damazer and Eileen Hogan

Members and friends of St Peter’s College gathered to celebrate the unveiling of the Eileen Hogan portrait of former Master Mark Damazer CBE.

Friends and family of Mark and Rosie, including their children Will and Kat, attended the unveiling. The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Louise Richardson, and Suzy Damazer, Mark’s 91-year-old mother, unveiled the portrait together.

Artist Eileen Hogan joined the celebration via a video call and gave a brief speech in which she detailed her process of painting Mark Damazer’s portrait. As with other of her recent portraits, Hogan had worked in partnership with an oral historian and, as part of her preparation, she spent hours observing and sketching her subject as they talked.

The result is now a striking new portrait in the Hall. Mark Damazer is shown in full-length and more integrated into the College landscape than has been the norm in portraits of previous Masters. He is depicted, hands in pockets and with an open-neck shirt, at the corner of Linton Quad near the Master’s Office, with both Latner and Besse visible behind him. As the present College Master, Professor Judith Buchanan, observed at the unveiling: ‘it is beautifully relaxed, as though Mark had just paused to speak with a student on his way to a meeting.’

Mark Damazer was appointed Master of St Peter’s College in 2010 after a successful career with the BBC, including as Controller of BBC Radio 4. He stepped down as Master of the College in September 2019, handing over to Professor Buchanan. Many have remarked on how much smarter, more energetic and purposeful College was when he left than when he arrived.  Professor Buchanan said: ‘I arrived into a College that was in conspicuously good heart and I am aware that the fact that this was so is in large measure due to Mark.’

The new portrait hangs in the Hall next to a portrait of Dapo Akande, Professor of Public International Law. Professor Akande was the College’s first Black professor and the portrait of him is the first College portrait to have been painted by a woman, Catherine Goodman. In his time here, Mark Damazer championed a project to diversify the College’s portraiture, and over the years the College has collected and exhibited paintings and photographs of notable alumni and College academics that speak to the College’s increasing diversity. In his speech at the unveiling, the former Master said he was honoured that his portrait, now the second in Hall to have been painted by a woman, itself now becomes a part of that history.

Hannah Hempstead

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