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Wanstead House, London, 19 March 2017

23 March 2017

As sometimes happens, I found the lower floor at Wanstead House fully occupied by worshippers of Grace Church. This was a tad awkward for me when I arrived, as they had congregated in the room through which the gents’ toilets are accessed. I deferred answering the call of nature and instead helped life drawing class organiser, Patrick to take the tea-making things upstairs to the Roding Room, where poses would begin at 10:30am.

As our start time neared, I sensed that nature would not be ignored much longer, so I could either pass through the ranks now or wait till later when I would be wearing just a dressing gown. I made my move and, with an American pastor preaching from their video screen, all Christian eyes duly followed me to the loo. I felt more self-conscious at that moment than I did five minutes later, when stripped naked with eight strangers scrutinising and sketching every detail of my body…

I began with 10-minutes standing then sat on the floor with much crossing of limbs for another 10-minutes. For 40-minutes, I sat on a low stool in an attitude vaguely akin to Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker, and finally – after refreshments – I lay on the floor with my head and arms resting on the stool for a hand-numbing 35-minutes. It was a quiet yet pleasant session as ever at Wanstead House, and particularly nice to see Patrick work on a couple of quick-fire oil sketches – praise be.

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