The first unveiling ceremony was scheduled for 12:30 and was for the staff and personnel of the estate. There were about 30-40 people in all. The Earl spoke about how he found Adrian for the portrait and why he chose him. He talked about his sittings for him and how pleased he was about the overall result. He had mentioned to me privately that the music that Adrian played threatened to put him to sleep most of the time and said that he would love to see Adrian get faster at his painting process but made a point to publicly state that he agreed with him that the quality of the painting had an obvious connection with the length of the sitting. He really seemed to be on board with Adrian’s ideals and aesthetics on painting and was very proud of their outcome. Then Adrian had a chance to make his speech. There was a fantastic interruption when Tate, the Earl’s dog suddenly bounded forward and stopped in front of the painting. This of course, stole everyone’s attention away but Adrian took the moment back again. You would have really appreciated the moment when the Earl and Tate were standing in front of their painting and you could really feel the uncanny likeness that Adrian so brilliantly captured. Everyone who was there had the same reaction. After the speech was over and people were able to walk past and view the painting closely, champagne and wine were served and the crowd departed.
Afterward we had time to duck into the new garden cafe and have some soup and sandwiches before the next ceremony. All of the ‘Gold Members’ were present and seemed to arrive at once, although the Mayor and his companion had come a little earlier. My concern over what I was wearing had faded by this point as everyone was dressed in a similar navy blue blazer attire which may have been part of a tradition coinciding with the time of day. I also noted that tea and coffee were served after the ceremony instead of wine, which contrasted with the earlier ceremony. In many other ways the effect of the unveiling was very similar to the first though and it was a well informed crowd that took the opportunity to speak with Adrian and ask a lot of questions. Some had really interesting stories to share with him too, but that’s another story. After tea, many of the people we met on the estate, including the Earl and the Countess took their opportunity to say their goodbyes and then it was over!