commission a portrait painting

commissioning a portrait painting by a british portrait artist, Matt Harvey is a portrait painter from Devon, UK

Detail of a portrait in progress from grisaille to 2nd glaze. Oil on canvas

Commissioning a portrait painting is a creative collaboration between the client and the artist. This page describes the process of commissioning a portrait of yourself or your loved ones. All of my clients have been delighted with the work I have produced for them and you can read some of their testimonials below.

Initial consultation

Please contact me so we can have a chat about the commission over the phone and work out exactly what kind of painting you have in mind. If it is a group portrait we can discuss where you might like to have the portrait set, and we can talk about the composition. I am also happy to work from your photographs. See below for various options and prices. When we have discussed and agreed a portrait, the price and your preferred timescale, a 50% deposit is required to begin working.


I should be able to paint your portrait very quickly, but this would also depend on other work so lets discuss timings and how soon you would like your portrait. Oil paint cures rather than dries, but I use a drying medium so it can be dry to the touch in a couple of days, but then fully cured in about a year! Because its dry to the touch I can deliver much sooner than that and it can happily cure by itself framed on the wall.

Meeting with a photo session

When we have agreed the commission we can then arrange a date and location to meet where I can take some photos to use as a reference. I am happy to travel to you. Ideally all that is needed is a good light source with natural light. Of course if you have the time I love to paint from life too! Working from life would mean 1 or 2 days with around 8-10 hours in total for a half length portrait. I can then continue in my studio or complete with further sessions from life. This is obviously not realistic with young ones! So I usually just work from photos for children, which ideally I take, but as I said, I am very happy to work from your photographs.

Final approval

I will begin working in the studio, and if you like I can send updates as I progress. When I am nearly finished I will send you a photo of the painting for your approval and feedback, and when you are happy with the portrait, the last payment is required plus any delivery costs. Then I will deliver your picture to you.

Pricing for portrait paintings, as a rough guide:

Head and shoulders £650

Half or 3/4 length from £950

Full figure from £1950

Prices can vary a little depending on composition and details. Group portraits from £2000 – depending on the number of sitters, composition etc.

Travel expenses and postage in addition, to be discussed. I require a non-refundable 50% deposit in advance.


‘Thank you so much for emailing the pictures to us. They are absolutely fantastic. We are so happy with them… Thank you once again for all your hard work, we really do appreciate it. All three are just beautiful.’

‘WOW!!! [We] are over the moon… it just captures her perfectly! Thank you so much.’

‘Absolutely beautiful!’

‘Fabulous. We love her picture… she looks wonderful!’

‘It’s fantastic, and is just so him!’



To talk to Matt about a portrait commission

+44 (0)7855 789 676

or leave a note in the box below with your email




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