Tuesday, 2 March 2010

The tea drinker.

Very rarely do I accept portrait commissions. The above was an exception. The woman was the wife of a very good friend in Shropshire; she was pure Scouse, and had an exceptionally strong personality. She also had the type of features that usually make for an interesting picture. The drawing above was the very first preparatory sketch, and she proved to be a most difficult sitter.

In later drawings the mug became a Willow Patterned cup and saucer, and her hands became covered in white stitched gloves. I delivered the finished job after about four months.

My friend loved the painting; his wife didn't. It wasn't how she saw herself, although she liked it as a picture of 'someone else'. In my defence, I should add that the finished job was a very close likeness of her. I'd used a palette that was particularly rich, in dark greens, umbers, ochres, and reds. Rather Florentine/Pre-Raphaelite.

The painting was given top-spot in their drawing room, and (forgive my arrogance) was much admired by their visitors.

Two years later the painting was stolen, the above is all that's left. If anyone has any info', do let me know.

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  1. It's a strange sort of flattery, having your painting stolen, eh Cro? Churchill arranged an 'accident' for his one by Sutherland, as he felt the same way about it as your sitter, by the sound of it.

  2. Yes, I've often wondered if the 'theft' wasn't arranged by the wife. Who knows!

  3. Either way, it's a sad loss for the Nation.

  4. I think it is better to believe that it was 'stolen'. For to do otherwise to harbour a suspicion, that most likely will never be proved and that might damage your friendship.

    That's my two pennorth.

    I do though like the sketch, it is like progression of the cup to the mouth through various stages.

  5. The thief must have had very good taste! I would love to see the finished painting. Did you take photos?

  6. Unfortunately, Willow, no. The drawing is all I have. And even that is a photocopy.


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