It turns out that Orla Brady is the lady in red featured in the painting, not that Vettriano himself knew this at the time. More than twenty years ago, when she was a struggling actress, Brady had posed for a series of photographs for ‘The Illustrators’ Figure Reference Manual’. The photographs included some of her in a long evening gown, as part of a couple dancing a classic Waltz and it was these photographs that first inspired Vettriano to construct the story of the couple dancing on a beach, with only their Butler’s singing as musical accompaniment.
Twenty-five years on, Orla Brady is now an internationally known and successful actress and the painting, ‘The Singing Butler’ has gone on to become Vettriano’s best-known work worldwide.
Vettriano painted a second version of ‘The Singing Butler’ but featuring just the dancing couple and the woman is wearing a green dress. The painting entitled ‘Dancer In Emerald’, has been published as a signed limited edition print and both will be on display at the Kirkcaldy Museum & Art Gallery during Vettriano’s fothcoming exhibition, which opens at the Museum on 27th March 2010.
Click HERE to read the interview with Orla Brady about being Vettriano’s suprirse muse.