ACTRESS Maxine Peake agreed to be painted for a portrait exhibition — despite initial worries the project was "a bit vain".

The 39-year-old is the latest star of stage and screen to be immortalised on canvas by British portrait artist, Jonathan Yeo, known for his famous subjects including Nicole Kidman, Prince Philip, Erin O’Connor, Damien Hirst, Kevin Spacey, Stephen Fry, Sienna Miller, Tony Blair and David Cameron.

His Portraits exhibition launches at The Lowry, Salford, on Saturday where it can be seen until Sunday, June 29.

The Bolton actress, currently starring in BBC legal drama Silk, said: “When The Lowry initially approached me to be painted by Jonathan, I said no, as it seemed a bit vain to have my portrait painted.

“In actual fact, I didn’t reply to the request for two weeks, thinking it wasn’t for me, being something other people do.

“However, I came to realise that what Jonathan does is not about vanity, it is about something more — encapsulating a person, with all their various facets, in a rounded way.

“I actually found sitting for the painting a really enjoyable process, almost like a therapy session.

“You find yourself opening up, as Jonathan asks questions while he paints. You are also quite vulnerable in that position, letting yourself be observed.

“It felt a great privilege to go through the process, to be pictured in this way. I am used to being captured on screen, which can be fleeting, so it feels very special to have something permanent.”

Unveiled by the artist after she attended a series of studio sittings in early 2014, the portrait is a vivid image of Maxine.

Jonathan said: “Maxine has always interested me because of her chameleon-like ability to embody the different characters she portrays.

"The challenge in portraying an actor whose ability ranges so widely — across theatre, poetry, TV, film, music and beyond — was to try and capture her own personality.”