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Lord strikes a pose for portraits

Artist Deirdre Hudson hands Lord Tebbit her portrait of him
Artist Deirdre Hudson hands Lord Tebbit her portrait of him

A weekly Bury St Edmunds art group was visited by a lord last week.

The portrait drawing group, which meets at Oakes Barn, in St Andrew’s Street South, was only formed this summer but is already going from strength to strength.

Following an appeal in the Bury Free Press in July, a host of volunteer models stepped forward to pose for the group.

The latest volunteer was politician and life peer Norman Tebbit, whose sitting was on Thursday.

John Astle, who launched the group, said: “The group has really taken off since its inception in May.

“Every week it has met to portray a different model and each sitter has been given their chosen portrait to take home.”

At the end of Thursday’s session Lord Tebbit was shown all the portraits and given the opportunity to choose one to keep.

He selected a pencil and crayon portrait by artist Deirdre Hudson, of Woolpit.

“Lord Tebbit was a very interesting model and told us some stories from his time as a politician. I knew I’d caught a bit of his spirit in my portrait – he was quite animated as he spoke so I tried to capture that,” said Deirdre.

“I was obviously very pleased when he chose my portrait as there are some very good artists in the group.

“I think John drew Lord Tebbit out, as he had some fantastic stories to tell. That was good, because it kept him and us interested.”

Deirdre has a background in illustration and graphic design, but said she had not done much for the past year until joining the portrait drawing group.

“I have only lived in this area for just under a year and it has taken me a while to find a drawing group to join. I’ve found it very friendly,” she added.

John, who has run similar groups in Dorset and Spain, said models of all ages were always needed to sit for the group.

Artists taking part each pay £2 to Oakes Barn – which supplies the room for free – and £2 to the model, while models also receive the portrait of their choice at the end. Sessions run 10.30am-1pm, with a 30-minute break.

Would-be models and aspiring portraitists should email Martin Warner at mw812@sky.com.


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