EDIT, 2015: In light of Mr Harris’s criminal conviction, I was going to take this post down but that would be unfair on those artists who worked so hard on this project. Instead I have removed his pictures from here out of respect for his victims.

We queued in the Waterloo rain for well over an hour to see an exhibition of art “as seen on TV”. Unusually for modern art we were allowed to take photographs. In fact, I asked the curator twice, just to make sure and saw lots of people snapping away without hindrance – apart from the jostling crowds. Still, most people were polite and we all did our best to allow everyone to see and photo their favourites in turn.

I guess Rolf Harris is a bit like Marmite (love him or hate him) but on TV he seems a genuinely nice person and having seen his paintings on several occasions I would suggest that his talent is perhaps underrated. I happen to like his style (though not all his paintings). This exhibition featured amateur and professional artists – sixty in all – as part of a project to depict six decades of Her Majesty’s reign. There was a mixture of styles, interpretations and levels of skill. There were reminiscences of happier days as well as some humour and satire; portraits, street scenes, cartoon sketches and abstract paintings too.

Incidentally, the TV programme which drew our attention to this exhibition was of the “must be done before the deadline” variety but not as manic as those “SOS” programmes I avoid. A feature of this programme that impressed me was that the two “popular presenters” themselves actually could paint. I have not included Ms Rice’s work as it happened not to be one of my favourites but I would note that someone commented that “she has caught her [the Queen’s] stance well.”


lino print

cartoon of the annus horribilis – the horrible year, 1992

The exhibition lasted less than a week and they had far more visitors than they expected. Apparently they usually accommodate a couple of hundred people for one of their theatre performances but on the first day of the exhibition they had fifteen hundred people passing through. Overall I would give the exhibition three stars or seven out of ten. I think I liked the idea of the project more than the actual pictures themselves.

[link removed]

Just a reminder: I do not own the copyright to these pictures so I cannot give you permission to use or copy them. I would guess that non-commercial use would be acceptable.