The Singing Butler is an oil-on-canvas painting made by Scottish artist Jack Vettriano in 1992. It sold at auction in 2004 for £744,800, the record at the time for any Scottish painting, for any painting sold in Scotland. Reproductions of The Singing Butler make it the best-selling art print in the UK; the painting measures 28 inches by 36 inches. It depicts a couple dancing on the damp sand of a beach on the coast of Fife, with grey skies above a low horizon. To the left and right, a maid and a man hold up umbrellas against the weather; the dancers wear evening dress: a dinner jacket and a red ball gown. The butler is formally dressed, while the maid wears a white apron and clutches her hat; as a contemporary cultural icon, The Singing Butler has been compared to Grant Wood's American Gothic. Vettriano has described the painting as an "uplifting fantasy" and chose the subject after being complimented on his paintings of beaches, he added the servants to balance the composition. His work has been criticised by art critics, but is popular with the public.
The Singing Butler has been criticised for its uneven finishing, inconsistent lighting and treatment of wind, for the odd position of the dancers. The dancers' pose is reversed from a normal closed dance hold. With the man leading, his left hand would hold the woman's right hand, he would place his right hand on or below the woman's left shoulder blade, while she places her left hand on his right arm, just below the shoulder; the original painting was sold at auction in August 2003 for £90,000, sold to a private collector in April 2004 for £744,800, a Scottish record at that time. After the painting was sold, it was reported that Vettriano had used an artists' reference manual, The Illustrator's Figure Reference Manual, as a basis for the figures. Vettriano retorts that Francis Bacon had the same book in his studio, that Picasso said that some artists borrowed but he stole. Another version of the painting, Dancer in Emerald, omits the maid, while the female dancer wears a green dress. Both were included in Vettriano's first London exhibition, God's Children, at the Mall Galleries in October 1992.
The original painting of The Singing Butler was displayed at Aberdeen Art Gallery in February 2012, the first public exhibition for 20 years. Jack Vettriano painting on display for first time in two decades, The Scotsman, 4 February 2012 Analysis: A work that has touched the hearts of the people, The Scotsman, 4 February 2012 The Singing Butler Did It, Vanity Fair, July 2012 Vettriano's Singing Butler in rare exhibition, BBC News, 4 February 2012 The Singing Butler, jackvettriano.com Dancer In Emerald, jackvettriano.com
Daniel Kearns is an Irish menswear designer with a master's degree in menswear from the Royal College of Art. He has held menswear designer positions at John Galliano. From 2005-2010 he was Design Director of menswear at Alexander McQueen and from March 2011 he was the menswear Design Director at Yves Saint Laurent. Kearns has consulted for Zegna, Louis Vuitton and Roberto Cavalli, he was made Artistic Director of French Brand Faconnable in 2014. Kearns was appointed Creative Director of Kent & Curwen in 2016. Kearns grew up in Ireland. Kearns earned a BA in Fashion Design from the National College of Art and Design in Dublin in 1997, during his time there, he completed a tailoring apprenticeship with Louis Copeland; this fueled Kearns's interest in tailoring, prompted a move to London in 1997 where he undertook a master's degree in menswear at the Royal College of Art, alongside a research project at the college focused on the development of ergonomic tailoring with intelligent textiles incorporating Shape Memory Alloy.
This led to a collaboration with Yorkshire mill Bower Roebuck & Co, who produced samples of the textile. While at the Royal College of Art, Kearns won a Dolce & Gabbana menswear project in 1998, which resulted in a three-month stint at the fashion house working on both mainline and the D&G line. After graduating in 2000, Kearns was named Menswear Designer at Emanuel Ungaro, after which he was brought in to help launch John Galliano menswear as Head of Menswear from 2002 until 2005. Kearns was Design Director of Menswear from 2005 until 2010. During that time, he worked with Alexander McQueen on every menswear show until his last show in January 2010, while developing and expanding the identity of the menswear ready-to-wear and accessories collections, to great critical acclaim. In January 2010, Kearns was named Designer for the Outdoor Department for Louis Vuitton. Here, he designed a capsule range for the Travel Room entitled ‘Made for Travel’, as well as the L. V. Trophy sea collection. In March 2011, Kearns was hired by Yves Saint Laurent to overlook its menswear collection as Design Director.
In 2014, Kearns was hired by Façonnable to overlook its menswear and womenswear collections as Artistic Director. In 2016, Kearns was appointed as Creative Director of the British heritage menswear brand Kent & Curwen. Daniel works with the company investor David Beckham, working collaboratively together to steer Kent & Curwen into this new generation. Kearns has moved in 2016 back to London with his family, he has two children Bailey and Beatrice