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Portraits [Hardcover]

Derren Brown
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
RRP: £25.00
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Book Description

5 Jun 2009
Derren Brown is known to his devoted fans as a brilliant showman and illusionist. His television shows attract audiences in the millions and his live show plays to sell-out audiences every night. But in his spare time, Derren uses a very different skill. He is a prodigiously talented artist who paints caricatures of famous faces from around the world. He has painted everyone from Richard Dawkins to Robbie Williams, from Anthony Hopkins to Amy Winehouse, and here for the first time they are all collected together, with Derren's thoughts on the person concerned and why he wanted to paint them in the first place. A must for all of Derren's fans.

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Portraits + Confessions of a Conjuror + Tricks Of The Mind
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Channel 4 (5 Jun 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905026560
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905026562
  • Product Dimensions: 26.9 x 31 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,193 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Derren Brown, one of the most infuriatingly talented people I've ever met, is also an incredibly gifted painter. Unfair and, frankly, selfish" (David Tennant)

"Clearly the best dinner-party guest in history - he's either a balls-out con artist or the scariest man in Britain" (Charlie Brooker Guardian)

"One of Britain's favourite showmen also has an enviable talent for painting" (Nottingham Evening Post)

"Magician makes magical art" (Birmimgham Sunday Mercury)

Book Description

Derren Brown's brilliant painted caricatures of his heroes

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strangely Compulsive 24 July 2009
This is a book that I keep picking up. It was bought for me as a gift and when I first flicked through it I couldn't work out if this was the work of a comedian or a classical artist.

As a big film fan a lot of actors that I rate are covered in this work. Each time I look at their pictures I see something of their character caught superbly by the artist. And yet the next time I look, my own mood can have an impression on what I see.

It is a weirdly, fascinating book and has a hint of Victorian freakshow but it is a book I expect to be picking up a lot more.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
If you're a fan of caricature then I would, for sure, recommend this book.

If you're a fan of Derren Brown `the artist', then of course you're going to be chuffed!

However, if you're a fan of Derren Brown `the performer' I would issue a warning: This will NOT be what you are looking for.

I fit into the third camp. But, having had the time to peruse the book, I'm now edging my tent closer to the parameters of Derren Brown `the artist' too.
There is no doubt that this man is a skilled gent in many areas of his life, and although I'm not a fan of caricature myself, I can recognise a talent when I see it.

Rather than being just a `coffee table book', this album of interesting work gives a good insight into each of the portraits, on roughly a 1 page of text to 1 one full, beautifully glossy-page, image ratio.
The commentary flows smoothly from one painting to the next, highlighting not only why they were chosen as a subject, but anecdotes on the subjects and personal experiences of the artist as well.

There are also some lovely touches scattered throughout this book too that you would not usually be privy to from many artists.
A funny little letter about his own portrait from Gael García Bernal, warms you instantly to both subject and artist and makes you realise that there is definitely a sensitivity required in this satirical genre of art.

If you do choose to purchase this book then I think you would be greatly rewarded when your delivery arrives. However, I for one, am secretly still hoping that this very talented artist doesn't give up his day-job as a result!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magic - but in a different way! 15 Jun 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Derren Brown is, of course, best known as the country's leading magician and hypnotist but these elaborate caricatures will be a revelation to many (those who have visited his website will already be aware of this other talent).

Appreciation of caricature is the kind of thing you could write a doctoral thesis about. It is probably linked to how much you can tolerate ambiguity - some people don't 'get' caricatures at all, while others say they reveal truths a more naturalistic portrait does not. It is worth emphasising just how elaborate these pictures are - no mere line drawings. Of course, some caricaturists can reduce a face to a few simple lines but here we have something different: almost a bridge between oil paintings (which generally flatter) and caricatures (which generally don't though Brown insists he has a fondness for his subjects. Perhaps that's why he hasn't done Richard Littlejohn or Alastair Campbell?)

The accompanying text is fascinating, taking in psychology and philosophy as well as art - and, of course, the odd aside about the author's OTHER job also creeps in. The choice of subjects is eclectic and revealing. If you love portraiture and caricature, you will want to buy this book. I just hope he doesn't get so addicted to painting that he stops performing!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
When I first heard about Portraits I assumed it was going to just be a collection of Derren's beautiful artwork but as always was pleasantly surprised! Not only a collection of Derren's artwork but a narration from Derren himself. If you have read tricks of the mind then you will know of Derren's individual and comical writing style and he doesn't disappoint in his latest. Derren explains how he goes about his artwork, sharing some lovely stories along the way. To complete the journey through the visually pleasing pages, are quotes from some of the individuals. Worth every penny, a joy to read every time!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but could have been even better 30 May 2009
It took a while for me to receive my copy but I wasn't disappointed. The full colour and B&W portrait photographs are fantastic, I'm with David Tennant (featured in the book) when he says that he hates Derren as the bloke is so talented. I would have given it 5 stars but I felt that what was missing was some photo's and explanation of how Derren's paintings came to be - some stage by stage pictures to see how he initially sketched the outline to the finished article.

I don't know if there will be a volume 2 but I'll be one of the first on the list - a great coffee table book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strangely compelling..... 26 July 2009
I will admit I am a compulsive buyer of Derren's merchandise, ever since I held his pint while he signed an autograph for me after a show some years back I have felt strangely compelled to purchase any items he has put forth for sale. This book, however, was a birthday gift from a friend who knew I was a Derren fan, and it was a very welcome gift.

If you've had a look at Derren's artwork on his website this is a great chance to take a closer look. There's also a narrative and musings by the man himself and even some quotes from some of the celebs he has chosen to paint.

Go on, buy it - you know you want to!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
Just fab
Published 1 month ago by ericamt
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good value
Published 2 months ago by alwyn thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb collection of Derren Brown's art
I have been a long time fan of Derren's artwork. His work is more than caricature, you actually look at each piece and it IS the person he has painted. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Ian V
5.0 out of 5 stars he's a god
another talent added to derren brown, it's now official he is a genius. but if you don't like at it may not be for you
Published on 5 April 2012 by Miss A. Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars A different side to Derren Brown
Reknowned for his tricks of the eye and magic, Derren Brown shows a different side to his talent with this brilliant showcase of art. Read more
Published on 12 Dec 2010 by Lovelylinda
5.0 out of 5 stars RECOMMENDED PURCHASE
Derren Brown....what can I say. He's undescribable, genious and amazing. You should also buy his TV programme (Trick of the mind). You won't regret it.
Published on 31 May 2010 by A. Y. Belghasem
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
Who'd have thought that Derren Brown was such an amazing caricature artist. The subjects are spot on. Where does he find the time.
Published on 30 Oct 2009 by Mrs. J. Mclaren
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, great talking point
I am a huge fan of Derren anyway so may be biased, however I though the quality of the art on display is excellent. Read more
Published on 23 Aug 2009 by D. Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars Caricature must have !
I heard about this book from a member of a Caricature forum I belong to, my friend was so enthralled by the work in this book she wanted to share with us just how good it was! Read more
Published on 3 Aug 2009 by A. A. Mccormick
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
Wonderful paintings, a real joy of a book. Captures the nub of its subjects with an unerring aim.
Published on 29 July 2009 by J. Innes
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