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Mall Galleries, London, 14 April 2017

17 April 2017

You look every inch the English gentleman, Steven” said Simon Whittle, President of Hesketh Hubbard Art Society, as he walked by. I was wearing a black hat, a silk tie, checking a pocket watch, but otherwise standing nude and tall. Back-to-back with me was Esther, fully nude except for the lipstick she applied whilst glancing in a compact mirror. This was the first of our four 30-minute duo poses at Mall Galleries.

We were weaving a mini narrative, starting with a reprise of our first two poses at The Cambria a fortnight ago. For the second half-hour, we turned to face each other and I lowered myself to be seated on the floor. Esther pulled me by the tie and prodded my shoulder-blade with a crimson ostrich feather. There were murmurs and chortling from the surrounding artists – this was not a pose for the ticklish.

After the tea interval we changed our poses from those of two weeks before. To begin, Esther put on her red stilettos and sat on a low stool while I lay underneath with limbs threaded through its legs; then finally I stayed reclining while Esther curled beside me, her head upon my chest. The arrangement allowed me to take comfortable, if shallow, breaths whilst supporting Esther upon my ribs.

I felt it had been one of our strongest duo sessions at Mall Galleries and this was well reflected by the artworks produced. Afterwards we joined many of the artists at a busy nearby pub, to enjoy wine, tortillas and cheesy chips while drawings of us naked were passed around the tables. I look forward to a return for solo work in four weeks’ time… though I shall dearly miss my inspirational tie-pulling partner.

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