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Spotlight: Francis Salvesen

Artists, dancers, authors, entrepreneurs and the people behind some of the brands we work with inspire us every day. Each month, Colour Spotlight puts one of our clients in the hot seat, asking them three questions that dig deeper into their careers, latest ventures and future plans.

Talented artist and nature enthusiast Francis Salvesen has spent much of his time capturing the most picturesque views of the British landscape. We caught up with him ahead of his debut solo exhibition, The Great British Art Exhibition: Our Iconic Landmarks, to find out more about his time painting in the army, his passion for all things British and his thoughts on preserving our natural habitats.

1. How did you get into painting?

Francis: I have always painted. There was an out-building at school which was the art room and every time I had a free afternoon or weekend I would sneak in and paint. I painted so prodigiously that I got rather good, for a child. Eventually I won the Art Cup! I considered it a 'hobby' rather than an academic subject and just painted posters promoting a play or musical that the school was putting on, or some club or society I was interested in, as well as paintings of pretty scenes. While in the army I bought my first oil paints and used some of my free evenings and weekends in the Barracks in West Germany to paint some scenes of Germany and Switzerland. I painted Wild Boar and Mont Blanc, and put cheap frames around them for display. 

2. What inspired you to paint landscapes - the subject of your debut exhibition?

Francis: From John o' Groats to Lands' End, Britain is home to some outstanding natural areas of beauty, and many of these have notable architectural merits, historic gravitas and aesthetics which have withstood the test of time. The intention is to incorporate all the best-known landmarks of the United Kingdom, to provide people with the chance to tour all the best sites in an under an hour through 50 paintings. I am also keenly interested in the UK itself, and in what I treasure about our country and our people - so I am determined to eventually paint all the traditions, sports, eating habits, hobbies and eccentricities that weave us into who we are. 

3. Given that you are patron of the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland, what do you think are the best ways that Britain’s natural landscapes can be preserved, particularly in the face of a growing need for housing and infrastructural developments?

Francis: Being pro-active in finding out about proposed developments, then inspecting areas and suggesting aesthetically pleasing ways in which to carry these out seems to me to be the right approach. I do not think we should stand in the way of progress, but we can progress with due care and attention. Developments can be achieved in a picturesque way - using stone for bridges, rather than concrete; building dams that blend in with the scenery; burying cables underground where possible and fitting wind turbines into the natural topography in such a way as it offends few hill walkers, ramblers or country drivers.

The Great British Art Exhibition: Our Iconic Landmarks, runs from 11-16 November at La Galleria, Pall Mall, London. For more information, visit


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