The dresser is Martin’s, so it seemed appropriate to place it behind him, and it will be a good place to stand various objects relating to their interests. All the objects had to have significance, but they also needed to create a pleasing composition. Somehow I had to find a place for Martin’s collections of antique wineglasses, wine bottles, and Victorian books, for Brian’s fishing tackle, love of opera and yacht racing, for their shared interest in wine, and the Livery Company, for the Company itself, and for my own connection with it. Well, it’s a big canvas!
After I had roughed in the boys in their robes, I made a tentative layout in pencil, putting smaller things on the shelves. Brian is holding his fishing rod with his wellies beside him, the Silver Cup of the winner of the National Championship for the Yeomen Class which Brian and his friend won three times in the eighties, a silver rose (“Der RosenKavelier”, his favourite opera). Martin’s collections grace the shelves behind him, while the pile of books, and bottle of claret they are sharing demonstrate interests they have in common. I needed something light and fairly big behind Martin’s arm to give tonal and visual variety so I included a watercolour I had done of St James’ Garlickhyde. This beautiful Wren Church is where I accompany my husband, also a Liveryman, to the Winter and Summer Services of the Company. Behind Brian is a painting of his yacht “Fanatic” in full cry, and a chair representing the period when the company was founded.
Reasonably satisfied with this layout, I washed the canvas in a warm burnt sienna to remove the glare of white canvas.