Stella's Commission Service is simple. Please see the bottom of this page.
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This portrait was commissioned by the Police Staff College at Bramshill, Hampshire, and was an exciting one to receive. The venue was Kensington Palace, and interesting experience in itself. I had prepared several sketches beforehand for the Princes consideration, and he chose one in civilian dress.
We looked around his study for a background, but the Prince suggested we go to a small walled garden. It was there that the preliminary work was done, luckily with good weather.
While I did my ‘thing’, it was great to have my husband operating the camera, and there was constant chatter and laughter which put us at ease. In addition to the work, the Prince showed us other portraits of the Royal Family by recent artists. The whole experience was a great honour and fun.
I need not describe the excellent end of course ‘dining in night’ when the painting was formally unveiled, and destined to hang in the Prince of Wales room with previous royal portraits.
A delightful man, born in Somerset, educated at Richard Huish Grammar School – and later to find fame as a writer and space scientist.
I was commissioned by his family to paint his portrait, for among other interested parties was the American Space Agency, NASA. Luckily for me he frequently visited Somerset. The great excitement of the sittings was the delivery of a new computer which constantly interrupted our concentration on the more ‘traditional’ work in hand.
An intimidating, but impressive ‘presence’ who really did not want to be painted. Short of working from life on his head and hands, I had to resort to stuffing my husband’s best suit with newspaper, and sitting it in a chair in my studio, bedecked with an academic gown and hood, borrowed from our Rector who had taken the same degree.
The painting, which thankfully was well received by the school, joins an impressive collection of portraits of retired headmasters as far back as the founder, Richard Huish in the 17th century.
A commission on the retirement of the High Master, and one which had to be executed here in Somerset, with pre-arranged visits from a very busy man. Extra items were included in the composition, including a bust of the founder of the school.
The sittings for the painting were a delight, and the hospitality for the retirement dinner was superb. Wonderful memories.