|Private View, Mall Galleries, In front of the 'Scholars Wall' my work (12 small pieces) on right|
People kept asking me if I was nervous before the Private View. The answer was 'no'. I hoped the work would speak for itself and all the members were so kind to me I was just excited and trying to enjoy every moment.
My day began by rendezvousing with Jane and Jo on the train. We made our way to the The Mall Galleries, arriving by noon. The atmosphere was wonderful. There were many people and more red dots were starting to appear. I had sold the little egg tempera of Dawn at the 'first sight' exhibition on Tuesday night so had already exceeded my expectations!
I went over to Messum's to meet Annabel and Patrick for 3pm. Rose Hilton's vibrant work was wonderful to see even though they were busy adding other artists to the exhibition. I was wearing my exhibitor badge and David Messum kept looking at me so I explained. He had been at the critics' lunch the day before (as had I) and had been trying to think how he knew me… it was all rather surreal. When I told Paul Wuensche (other scholar), he and I joked that we should make a habit of wearing exhibitor's badges as a rule.
Pauline arrived 5 ish and she went straight to my wall and was very excited to share that I had sold another piece, this time it was the image that is in the catalogue of Tiziana, labeled 'untitled' Pauline, Annabel Patrick and I made our way to the drinks table and clinked glasses. Figgy, Jonny, Livvy Padfield and Kate Hills joined our convivial group.
At 6:30 Richard Pikesley, president of the NEAC, then Sir David Clementi (Chairman of the BBC) addressed us, awarded prizes and the new scholars were announced.
I had many wonderful conversations with members and visitors between Monday and Thursday but perhaps my most thrilling was when Melissa Scott Miller came to find me to tell me that Anthony Eyton wanted to speak to me. According to Melissa he had spent a long time looking at my wall and when I spoke to him he spoke encouragingly and enthusiastically about my pieces, calling me a 'really wonderful artist'. He told me his work was up high at the RA Summer Exhibtion this year and I promised to look for it. Nothing could have prepared me for that encounter.
|Sir David Clementi at Mall Galleries NEAC exhibition 2018|
And there is an afterword: On Friday I met Lesley and Ian en route to Wales from Rome to bring them to the exhibition. I took an early train down and went to see Gabriella's exhibition in Fulham. Gabriella is one of the new scholars. As I was preparing to get off at South Kensington to change to the Wimbeldon train, I locked eyes with someone I recognised… it was Anthony Eyton again, on his way to the V&A about a commission! He remembered my name, having as he said only 'met me in the past 24 hours' and repeated all the nice things he'd said about me and my work to the man who was accompanying him to the V & A. I had to pinch myself.