Christmas 2014 I made a visit out to the English Mansion and was treated to a wonderful hog-roast by the fire of the Great Hall to the sound of slave-minstrels playing from the lofty gallery. As the meal came to a close Mistress Sidonia dismissed the slave-waiters for the night and told me of her desire for a commission. She wished to give a portrait as a surprise gift to her long-time friend and collaborator Lady Nina Birch.
“She has everything already, so what better than a portrait by you.”
she cooed, jabbing an elegantly gloved finger into my ribs. I painted Lady Nina many years back and again recently as part of the Sardax Circus . Mistress Sidonia had told me that one of her favourite paintings of mine was of a bizarre shoe-shop I had made as part of a commissioned series.
I took this as a guide though I kept it a little more focussed on her and not any activity. I wanted it to show her perhaps in the quiet library of her own Mansion with its monogrammed fireplace and symbolic crossed birches. On the shelves books are shown with titles relating to her own life and interests. At her feet sissy-maids (a great speciality of Lady Nina) are shown polishing her boots to a bright gleam.
The presentation was held on her birthday at a very exclusive club. I was invited to witness the unwrapping and it was an immense pleasure to see the smile on her face as she took it all in, and also to see Mistress Sidonia’s satisfaction as she looked on. She had given her an unique and unrepeatable gift ; it was a great pleasure to be asked to provide this.
Learn more about Sardax portraiture here