The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall are among the United Kingdom's most important ambassadors.
Every year, Their Royal Highnesses travel abroad at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to further British diplomatic interests, raise the UK’s profile in the country visited and promote British excellence. Other times The Prince of Wales visits Commonwealth Realms on behalf of The Queen who is head of state.
As an engaged Patron of the Arts and a keen amateur watercolourist himself, His Royal Highness likes to create a record of a tour that goes beyond the limitations of photography. When he travels abroad, The Prince of Wales chooses a tour artist to join the tour party at his request and his own expense.
"I was the official tour artist with His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, during their recent tour of Australia. The Prince of Wales was introduced to my work through Panter and Hall Gallery, London, who represent me in the United Kingdom. A successful exhibition earlier this year was my seventh one-man show with them.
"It has been a policy of Prince Charles to take an artist on tour as he is a watercolourist himself and understands the difference between the cold hard facts of a photograph and an interpretation through the eyes of an artist. Paintings from these tours may become part of The Prince's collection, ultimately entering the Royal Collection.
"It was a whirlwind tour moving at a relentless pace, with military precision, planning and timing. I was able to paint at locations planned ahead of time and fortunately, mostly found good subject material.
"On a showery day at a sheep stud out of Hobart I only just won a race by seconds against a great pelting storm.
"At the Icebergs Club at Bondi, Sydney, a monstrous deluge beat me! I was drenched through with an unsalvageable painting roughed up by the sudden driving rain. Magic moments came along at Yarralumla ACT. While a garden party and ceremony was taking place just over the hedge, I stood on the shore of Lake Burley Griffin with reflected billowing sky and gentle breeze, to the strains of Advance Australia Fair.
"Whilst I painted in the vicinity of the formal Diamond Jubilee receptions, greetings and ceremonies, out of the ‘range of distraction’, on the breeze I heard performances of Gurrimul Yunupingu, various military bands and chatter with Governor-Generals, Governors, Premiers and other dignitaries.
"Flying from Melbourne to Adelaide, to Hobart, to Sydney, to Canberra on a RAAF B737 plane, painting whenever I could on the many short stops, I finished the tour with nine paintings, some pencil sketches, and an arrangement to go back to Admiralty house and Garden Island!
"My big moments to remember were:
- Wandering the grand halls and rooms of government house in both Melbourne and Sydney to find rarely seen paintings by Roberts, Streeton, Smart and Ashton
- Standing in the centre of the War Memorial in Canberra with sketchbook in still silence during the playing of the last post
- Painting beside the Flemington race track mounting yard, in front of the private members stand with a halo of space around me in the throng of people as the Melbourne Cup race begins
- In-flight discussion with The Prince on his days at Timbertop, Victoria, and my camping and painting there earlier this year. He was happy that my brother-in-law was catching trout in the Howqua River as he himself had done in 1966.
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