Maggie Beer must be the only person in the world who doesn't believe she's a total queen. From her days on the pheasant farm in the Barossa, to her restaurant, television appearances and advocacy of older Australians, Beer is indeed considered royalty in the food industry. "It's quite an oxymoron," says Beer, with her trademark laugh. "I'm the most grounded, down-to-earth person you'll ever meet. There's nothing queen-like about me at all." But a major new portrait of Beer, Maggie, 2023, unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery on Thursday, gets to the very essence of that regalness, if you like. Artist Del Kathryn Barton has captured Beer sitting quite upright, a pheasant perched near her right shoulder, surrounded by her favourite fruits and vegetables. The details are intricate, from the crimson seeds of a pomegranate and plump peas in their pods, to the paisley pattern on the fabric of Beer's dress. Beer looks something like a medieval-like lady of the manor, stately, in charge. "I'm so glad you noticed that aspect of it," says Barton. "I personally find Maggie quite regal on one level, and I know that embarrasses her, but I just think she's a total queen. "It's in an earthy, connected way, she's connected with nature, her garden, with food, with people." Beer was named Senior Australian of the Year in 2010, four years later she started the Maggie Beer Foundation to enrich the lives of older Australians, especially those in aged care homes, through food. "It's only when my bones are aching that I think I'm old," says Beer. "I've never been busier in my whole life and that's as exciting as it is challenging." Barton said it was an important part of the commission for her, the representation of an older woman. "We live in such an image-dominated world with the internet and Instagram, it's all so polished and edited," she said. "It was important for me to show that her face was a celebration of a rich, long, joyful life." Beer is no stranger to having her portrait painted, it's happened five times. For the Archibald Prize in 2008, Barry McCann painted her and chef Simon Bryant on the set of their successful The Cook and The Chef television series. In a lovely coincidence, Barton won that year, for her You are what is most beautiful about me, a self-portrait with her children Kell and Arella. Barton also won the Archibald in 2013, for her portrait of actor Hugo Weaving. "I love Del's approach to imagery and fantasy, and she doesn't do any portraits of people smiling, and so this was something very different to what I knew. "But it was great to see how somebody else saw me, and it wasn't how I saw me, or what people might think of me. "It's just the most beautiful work and I am very happy." Barton says, "This is a woman who has lived an incredible life ... so beautifully her age, but transcendent of age. She fills up a room with light and energy and generosity." So too does this portrait. It is part of a program at the gallery which aims to increase understanding and appreciation of Australian people through the art of portraiture. Since the first commission in 1999 - Howard Arkley's iconic portrait of Nick Cave - the gallery has commissioned almost 90 new works of individuals who have made significant contributions to Australian life. Other recent commissions include Hugh Jackman by Vincent Fantauzzo, Jessica Mauboy by David Rosetzky and Neale Daniher by Michael Peck. This portrait, Maggie, 2023 by Del Kathryn Barton will be on display at the Gallery over the summer months.