What's inspired Paul Bainsfair?

In the first edition of our 'What's inspired you?' column, IPA Director General Paul Bainsfair reveals the "heart stopping demonstration of human accomplishment" that inspired him on a trip to New York.

Portrait of Sir Thomas More.
Painting by Hans Holbein the Younger, 1527.

In the late 1990s I was in New York for a worldwide TBWA Board meeting.

I had a couple of hours to myself and I went to see the Frick Collection on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. I’m no culture vulture but like most of us I have seen many of the world’s most celebrated works of art.

Nothing before or since has had the same effect on me as Holbein’s portrait of Sir Thomas More. It is so real, so life like, it is impossible to believe that a mortal artist created it. Art critics might use the word verisimilitude but that doesn’t really do the job. It’s more than a brilliant portrait; it is a heart stopping demonstration of human accomplishment. It is impossible to gaze upon it and not be inspired.

I make a point of going to see Holbein’s masterpiece every time I am in New York. It is genuinely awe-inspiring.

Paul Bainsfair is the IPA's Director General.


Last updated 21 January 2022