Stephen Conroy (born 1964, Scotland) is a renowned painter of the generation which revived figuration in the 1980s. His paintings and prints are usually portraits or self-portraits, though not always explicitly so. This image, an oblique view of a man's head and shoulders from below is almost certainly a self-portrait. His work, in paint and in print, is inspired by Old Masters such as Caravaggio, Velazquez, Rembrandt, Poussin and Manet, and in the 20th century, Francis Bacon. He is a fine draughtsman and gives a dramatic conviction to his subjects' often enigmatic or awkward poses. He has made prints with Marc Balakjian at Studio Prints for many years.
This plate is one of several (by various artists) donated to the V&A through the good offices of the printer Marc Balakjian, and his partner at Studio Prints, Dorothea Wight. The V&A also has an impression from the plate (see E.19-2009).