you ever done anyone famous?"
It's a question we get asked a lot
and, Yes, there's been loads...
but none quite like this:
Sheba was asked to do a group caricature
for a 90th birthday party.
"There's going to be someone there you recognise" she was told. But
at first the client wouldn't say who it was.
"Security reasons" was all she got.
"Look" she said, "if there's going to be someone really famous
it's much better if I know in advance so I can at least do a little
research on them before I get there" she insisted.
"OK", said the guy, "It's the Queen"
Yes! THE QUEEN! Probably one of the
most famous people in the World!
The birthday girl was blue blood aristocracy and the Queen is one of
her rellies - a close family friend.
The day of the event came. It was
December - traditionally the time
we dry out and don't drink for a month. (Yes, I know.. but that's
another story) but before this gig we popped into a nearby pub in St
James so Sheba could steady her nerves with a stiff voddy! She'd
practised by copying stamps and 10 pound notes but none of these ever
really prepare you for the real thing.
Sheba had been assured it was a relaxed informal event but even so
when Her Majesty arrived she was still formally introduced to her
close family. (Protocol, don't you know.)
At the end of the line it was Sheba's turn:
"And this is Sheila" came the introduction. "She's going to be
some drawings of us."
Not wanting to correct the slight naming error Sheba dropped into her
utterly rehearsed best-meeting-the-Queen curtsey... and succeeded
only in looking like someone who really needed to go to the loo!
She'd been told earlier that she should address Her Majesty as "Ma'm
- to rhyme with Spam"
"Hiiii!' she said. And then added "it's a great pleasure to meet
you" (Which it was)
Anyway the luncheon got under way
and Sheba managed to get everyone
sketched out and then sat in a corner to ink it in and finish it off.
At the end she had to add everyone's name on so quietly took the
client aside to check them.
"Well this is Lady Fortescue Montgomery Smythe" (or something like
that), he said pointing to the first one.
"Er.. shouldn't we put something a bit more informal?" Sheba asked.
"Oh.. Ok,. Good point", he replied, "call her Marge"
When it came to The Queen's turn
there was some discussion. "Put HMQ"
was the eventual decision.
So it was all finished and mounted.
The guests were still dining so
Sheba again asked the client what she should do.
"Leave it on the table" he said. "We'd all like to sign it around
the side. Do you think a Mont Blanc pen will work on this paper?" he
"Yes" said Sheba, "I should think so. But I'll leave you one of
£2.99 markers just in case. Err should I say goodbye before I go?"
"No", replied the client,"Nobody is allowed to leave before Her
Majesty, but it would be fine if you just slipped away down the back
stairs. Oh and Her Majesty has asked for your contact details. Would
it be OK to pass them on?"
Sadly we never heard if The Queen
was pleased with the finished
picture and we're still waiting for The Call from the Palace.. but
the thrill of joining the elite group of artists (Rolf Harris etc) to
have painted the Queen lives on.
And yes - we have done someone famous.
Coming next - the time Simon drew
Tony Blair on a badge at the
Downing Street staff party! Another totally true if somewhat surreal