Not so long ago I received a call from a lady
enquiring about a portrait commission.
Her overriding concern seemed to be the size of the
finished painting. I explained that, as I stretch my own
canvases, I can work to any size, so the only consideration
really needed was where the painting was likely to hang.
“Do you know where the painting will hang?” I asked.
“In a palace.” she replied.
I wasn’t expecting quite that response, so, not unnaturally,
I had a couple of follow-up questions. The first of which was
“Do you mind me asking where you are calling from?” . . .
“The United Arab Emirates.” she replied.
As this required further consultation, I arranged to speak with
the client, her husband, who was flying in from Abu Dhabi.
We met at a hotel in Park Lane, although, I still didn’t know
who it was I was being commissioned to paint.
Shortly into our conversation over coffee, I was told it was to be
Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a leading member of the
Abu Dhabi ruling family and better known to English football fans
as the owner of Manchester City.
I decided to paint the portrait life size at three quarter length
and I had it framed and delivered to Abu Dhabi four months
after the London meeting. I hope it was big enough.