Editorial. 20 December.2009 . Sidmouth Herald.
IT is the type of commission that comes along once in a lifetime.
For Colaton Raleigh artist Alan Cotton it was to produce five paintings of Venice for the Miami home of shipping magnate Howard Frank.
The vice-president of Carnival plc, a cruise company that encompasses Cunard and P & O as well as other shipping lines, and his wife Mary, spotted Alan’s Venice paintings on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 and invited him and his wife Pat to their Venice apartment to discuss painting Venice scenes for their dining room.
“It was towards the end of 2007 that Alan got the call from Florida asking if we could go to Venice because Howard wanted to commission Venice paintings along the lines of the three Alan did for the QM2,” said Pat.
“We were wined and dined then he, Alan and Mary walked the canals, especially the ones near their apartment.”
Alan took photographs and sketched many scenes for the dining room, which he later gave to the couple. Plans were drawn up of the room and the spaces for each painting, which were measured to fit each wall.
“When in February 2008 Alan said he couldn’t do the commission that year because he was working on a major London show, they were gobsmacked,” said Pat.
“But he promised them they could have them by Christmas, even though he still had all the work to do for the London show, which was a great success, a virtual sell-out.”