RYLAN Clark is to take his place alongside Queen Victoria, Charles Darwin and the Bronte sisters – in the National Portrait Gallery.
The transvestite potter Grayson Perry, who won the Turner Prize in 2003, has made the 2012 X Factor contestant from Stanford-le-Hope one of the subjects in his series of miniatures, statues, pots, tapestries, etchings and lithographs looking at contemporary Britain.
The Who Are You? exhibition opens in the gallery’s 19th century collection display in the autumn, putting portraits of Rylan, disgraced politician Chris Huhne, a female-to-male transexual and a Muslim convert alongside those of Prime Ministers Benjamin Disraeli and William Gladstone and other Victorian notables.
Thurrock councillor James Halden said he was surprised by the news, but very proud a constituent had made it into one of the country’s top cultural institutions.
He said: “I’m extremely proud to see anyone from Thurrock achieve such a level of prominence, although it’s highly unexpected.
“Rylan, of course, lives in Homesteads, which is the best ward in the borough, so I’m surprised not more of my constituents are in the National Portrait Gallery.”
Running from October 25 to March 15 next year, the exhibition will coincide with a Channel 4 series hosted by Mr Perry on portraiture and British identity, in which viewers will get to know each sitter as they spend time with the artist, before getting a first look at themselves through his eyes at the gallery.
It is not yet clear why Mr Perry chose Rylan as a subject.