… Inez Valk. Sneaky. Dutch subject, Danish photographer, bit of smoke-and-mirrors (and the palming of a few soiled Euros, no doubt), all of a sudden she’s perched like a meerkat in the middle of Britain’s National Portrait Gallery in London. Room 32. The erstwhile home of Francis Bacon, Samuel Beckett, Queen Elizabeth II, Paul McCartney, Diana Spencer, Iris Murdoch, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Not to mention Amy Winehouse, Margaret Thatcher, Seamus Heaney and Rudolf Nureyev. Are we name-dropping? Forgive us being momentarily starstruck: it is, after all, bowel-looseningly thrilling. We have goosebumps the size of Peekamoose Mountain. I know, I know, she’s only a little Ollie face in a rear-view mirror whereas Prince Charles is the size of a grisly seventh grader. But she’s there! And so is the wintry stretch of route 18 between Hobart and South Kortright. And so was Henrik, lurking in back seat of the Subaru, the last of his five days shooting our Beloved Leader for Cay Sophie Rabinowitz’s Osmos last winter.
Alright, alright. So it’s not in the Permanent Collection. She’s not actually breaking bread with Nelson Mandela and Mick Jagger. But she is part of a special event in which 200 ‘artists, sitters and well-known individuals’ were invited to create a Mystery Postcard Portrait image for a Gallery Gala attended by Kate Middleton, who is known to like a nice postcard, especially sunsets over beaches and corgis romping in the snow. Henrik’s one of those: an artist, sitter or well-known individual (not a corgi). Well-known by the Farringdon Constabulary, at least. They don’t mean babysitter, do they? Because he scared the bejesus out of Dusty with his tales of child-eating trolls from the hills beyond Ringkjøbing. Artist, then. And this was the portrait he chose to submit. Our Inez. Sweet, eh?
We’d invite our London fan-club (both of them) to go check the veracity of the story in person. Thing is, well, the picture sold straight away on the Gala Night. So it’s not there any more. It’s in Kate Middleton’s handbag, with a little picture of her mother-in-law stuck on it, waiting to be rediscovered when she goes looking for her chapstick.
But those of us who missed the boat are cheered by whispers of a forthcoming intaglio edition of images from the series. Don’t worry, we had to look it up too. Seems to involve etching, engraving, that sort of thing. Like you used to do with lino at school to make christmas cards for your mum. We wonder which other pictures’ll be included? Frozen Admiral Valk traipsing through a blizzard across a corn field in her granny’s sweater looking like she’s about given up? Staring out of a foggy window contemplating the untimely death of her hamster?
Very exciting. And a change from soup, right? We’ll keep you posted as this story develops …