23 May


The deadline for the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition is pressing upon us, like a paunchy red-trousered sextagenarian taking liberties with our bottoms when he squeezes far too intimately past in the train’s buffet car on the way back to his seat in First Class. Another in Parker Harris‘ comprehensive range of reception hoppers for the excess money of aspiring artists, it will cost you £15 per image to get up to four of your works in front of the “panel of leading figures in the art world, including Sarah Armstrong Jones, artist; Ben Ravenscroft, artist: Desmond Shawe-Taylor CVO, Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures; and Louis Wise, Critic and Writer, The Sunday Times.”

Sarah Armstrong Jones and The Times are being terribly modest because Sarah is actually The Lady Sarah Frances Elizabeth Chatto, daughter of the 1st Earl of Snowdon and Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon and second daughter of George VI. Sarah is 20th in line to the throne. She’s the niece of Queen Elizabeth II, but over her lifetime Lady Chatto has slipped from seventh in line to her current sad ranking, the poor old thing. She either didn’t suck up to Her Maj enough, or she failed to avail herself of opportunities for royal sibling murder. Any road up, who better to dangle the hope of cash prizes to ordinary, ambitious people than a woman who never worked a day in her life because she was born at the apex of a feudal, plutocratic and super wealthy elite who live mainly at the British tax payers’ expense? In honour of the competition I executed a modest watercolour of her. I hope she likes it. I gave her a crown, because you know she’s been to a fancy dress shop or a Burger King to pick up a toy one so she can “jokingly” just see what it looks like. I admit the mouth area went a big wrong. She doesn’t have a ginger beard in real life and she is not a gut-munching cannibal either.


It’s artistic license, OK?


£15 down the crapper. SFX: Old fashioned “ker-ching!” till ring.

Unlike Lady Chatto and her ladylike hobby, Ravenscroft appears to be an actual artist but could you step into my office for a moment, Sunday Times? Bring Ben with you. You see, while we’re on the subject of rank I think we should talk about Ben being on the ghastly art world database Artfacts, where he is currently ranked number 64,277 in terms of his leading-ness in the art world, as it were. Although my own page is half empty and has large gaps, I’ve never worked in the commercial art sector or been represented by a commercial gallery, and as far as I can tell the page hasn’t been updated since 2010, I’m still 4,457 places ahead of Ben Ravenscroft at number 59,820. I think you guys should have a think about who’s really a leading figure in the art world. As for Louis Wise, eh… he’s an art critic for a venerable national newspaper that now lives behind an aggressive paywall, so he’s about as relevant to my world and most other people’s lives as Glyndebourne or fox hunting. Any relation to Ernie?

Here’s another excellent and original watercolour, this time of Desmond Shawe-Taylor, Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures. Those are the qualities they’re looking for, by the way: excellence and originality. I think I nailed both of them in this art work depicting our man with his hi-vis vest and theodolite, about to survey the shit out of the Queen’s pictures like a boss. Afterwards he’s going to build some luxury housing on top of the Queen’s pictures. These apartments will mainly be inhabited by Russian arch-criminals and Arab princelings who like watching snuff films when they’re not hanging out at Christie’s auctions. I’m also thinking of giving myself a title like Des S-T, because archaic and medieval-sounding epithets are really super hot right now thanks to Game of Thrones and whatnot. Suggestions?



  1. anitachowdry 23/05/2014 at 12:33 PM #

    I really think you should join The Royal Watercolour Society – you even get to add RWS after your name if you are accepted into the fold…

  2. Alistair 29/05/2014 at 9:36 PM #

    Reblogged this on Alistair Gentry.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: