6 MARCH 1953, Page 5


IT is universally agreed that the Crown should be kept out of politics. How much should it be kept out of commerce ? The question is prompted by a communication handed to, but not addressed to, me from an art gallery in the West End. The first paragraph of the document (a little faulty in syndx, but no matter) runs " Having received permission from the Queen, a portrait of Her Majesty will be exhibited at the — Galleries during the week of the Coronation."

A good beginning undoubtedly. The second paragraph, pre- liminary to a purpose, suggests how appropriate it would be " to show, during this historic week, portraits of people whose interests are directed towards the welfare of Great Britain." As to the third paragraph " the purpose of this letter is " to indicate, in short, that this means you, and to " ask for your co- operation to enable us to include a portrait of you in the Exhibition " (where the Queen's will be). The portrait would be painted by " an exhibitor of the Royal Academy ' and would only require three sittings, or for that matter a photograph would do to work from. ' Fourth paragraph : " Should you decide to acquire the painting, the fee would be 250 to 100 guineas, dependent upon size." This is what is known as coming down to brass tacks. And why not ? Well, it's just as you think.

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