Denise Lievesley portrait unveiled

Denise Lievesley Official Portrait By Hero Johnson

Green Templeton was delighted to celebrate the unveiling of a portrait of Professor Denise Lievesley in the Observatory Common Room on Friday 3 November.

Honorary Fellow Denise Lievesley was Principal of Green Templeton from 2015 to 2020.

The artist, Hero Johnson, was selected by Honorary Fellow Dr Paul Brankin and Denise for her experience and ability to build a rapport with her subjects. Hero produced the work over the course of a year, getting to know Denise in various environments around college, and taking hundreds of photos.

Denise Lievesley Laughing With Portrait Veiled With Roland Rosner Playing Piano From Behind In ForegroundDenise gave guests some fascinating insights into the process, that she described a ‘daunting’ at the start.

She wore a variety of outfits from which Hero picked the final dress in the picture. Denise was also asked to select an item of her jewellery. She described the personal significance of the striking necklace she is pictured wearing which was a gift from her brother to thank her for being guardian to his son, Tom, who was in boarding school here in the UK when his parents were working overseas. Tom is therefore the closest she has to a son.

Denise also spoke of her partner Professor Roland Rosner, who embraced the college community and stimulated musical activities, recognised by Hero through the inclusion of the bee brooch.

Denise Lievesley Portrait Unveiling With Denise Looking At Portrait

Paul Brankin who oversaw the commissioning process spoke immediately before Denise of his role and how Hero Johnson ‘captures the essence of Denise, our first female Principal.’

He also read out a quote from Hero:

‘What I was most struck by during my visits to Green Templeton with Denise was the way that she was greeted by everyone we came across. Everywhere we went people bounded up to her with their arms open, so glad to see her again.

‘It was this warmth of spirit, approachability and her self-effacing humility in the face of their attachment to her that I most wanted to convey in the portrait. I hoped that anyone who had known her at the college would feel something of that on seeing it.’

Vice Principal Professor Rebecca Surender had welcomed around 50 friends and colleagues from across the collegiate university.

She introduced Denise as the twentieth head of the college and its antecedents, the Oxford Centre for Management Studies, Templeton College, Green College and Green Templeton College. Rebecca commented that Denise may have been the first woman in this capacity, but will absolutely not be the last!

This welcome addition to the college collection will be proudly followed by a collection of portraits of other significant women of the college to be on view starting on International Women’s Day 2024.

College members and others are encouraged to come and see the new portrait when they are next near the Radcliffe Observatory.

Created: 7 November 2023