I have just been filling out the Marketing Questionnaire for the book I wrote during the toughest part of lockdown on the work of John Wonnacott, an artist whose paintings I have always admired ever since the National Portrait Gallery commissioned him to paint John Major, while Major was still (but only just) in office as Prime Minister, looking a bit forlorn in one of the grander rooms in 10, Downing Street, with Norma sitting in the window seat behind him. Four years later, Wonnacott himself suggested that he might paint a portrait of the entire Royal Family to mark the millennium. I thought it was extremely unlikely that they would agree, but to my surprise they did and so he painted a great set-piece portrait of them all. At the time, he was represented by Agnew’s, one of the leading Old Master dealers who had very grand premises on Bond Street. They were able to negotiate the sale of his work to both the Tate and Metropolitan Museum.
The book will be published by Lund Humphries in September.