Alan Turing – ‘To Make Amends’
Oil on canvas (approx. 4ft x 5ft)
Alan Turing, the world famous mathematician, code breaker, logician and computer scientist is widely regarded to be the father of computer science and artificial intelligence and is most famous for cracking the cracking the German Enigma codes
I was inspired to paint the great man’s portrait in 2012, not just to mark the centenary of his birth, but also as my contribution to a national campaign for Turing to be given a posthumous royal pardon for his 1952 conviction for homosexuality (this was granted in 2013). I call it ‘To Make Amends’ because I felt it was my way of apologising to him for what he had suffered.
The painting includes symbolic references to Turing’s life and death, including a representation of an Enigma machine under water with the letters ABY which means to make amends, a British aircraft bombing a German U-boat, and an apple. Turing was in the habit of eating an apple before bed and it was his consumption of a cyanide tainted apple that led to his death in 1952 at the age of just 40. The painting will appear as an illustration is a new book, ‘The Turing Guide’ written by renowned Turing scholar Jack Copeland, which will be published by Oxford University Press in January 2017.
Below left: The Alan Turing painting at the inaugural Information Commissioner’s Office sponsored ‘Alan Turing Lecture’ which was held at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester in September 2012.
Below right: Me with Alan Turing’s nephew Sir John Dermot.