Huntsman’s Savile Row headquarters temporarily transformed into a gallery space Thursday night, when the house hosted an exhibition of portrait artist (and Huntsman customer) Alexander Talbot Rice’s work.
Huntsman’s Savile Row headquarters temporarily transformed into a gallery space Thursday night, when the house hosted an exhibition of portrait artist (and Huntsman customer) Alexander Talbot Rice’s work. The artist, who served in the British Territorial Army before pursuing art, counts Queen Elizabeth II, Pope Benedict, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the late Lady Thatcher among his subjects. At Huntsman, he showcased his latest series called “Dreams Become Reality, The Mariinsky Collection,” a collection of portraits of the dancers whom Talbot Rice studied during his residency with the famed St. Petersburg ballet company earlier this year. Alongside those, the artist hung some of his most notable portraits.
Some of the most striking images on display during the evening were Talbot Rice’s portraits of Xander Parish, a British ballet dancer and a soloist in the Mariinsky Ballet – the first Brit to ever dance with the company. Similarly, Talbot Rice is the first British artist to be invited to paint the Mariinsky’s dancers. Parish, who was in attendance at the private view, reminisced with Talbot Rice about sitting – or dancing, as was the case – for one mesmerizing portrait of him and Victoria Tereshkina, dancing a duet in “Swan Lake,” in which their figures appear to radiate out from the inky background.
In honour of Talbot Rice’s affinity for Russia– the artist had also studied at St. Petersburg’s Repin Academy, where he is an honorary professor - His Excellency Alexander Yakovenko, the Russian ambassador to London, turned out for the private view at Huntsman. So too did Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster – another of Rice’s subjects – along with Lord Harry Dalmeny, the chairman of Sotheby’s UK and Sir Michael Oliver, a former mayor of London, Prince Albert Esiri of Nigeria, and adventuring twins Hugo and Ross Turner.
As the crowd took in the paintings, Fred Campbell of Cock & Tail mixed Mint Juleps and vodka tonics infused with lemongrass and thyme for the guests, as they grazed on saffron arancini, gazpacho shots, and salmon tartare.
And alongside gracing Huntsman’s walls, one of Talbot Rice’s paintings will also be rendered as a silk lining inside a Huntsman jacket. Huntsman has donated one of its bespoke jackets to an auction at an October ball to benefit The Hub Hong Kong, a charity for disadvantaged children, at which Rice and some of the Mariinsky dancers will be special guests. To mark that partnership, the Huntsman jacket will be lined with a print of the painting, creating a one-off, work of art.