The Prince and the Painter
Posted by jonathanfryer on Thursday, 1st November, 2007
This afternoon, I had an audience with the Duke of Edinburgh in his library at Buckingham Palace, for my next literary project: the authorised biography of the Polish-born artist Feliks Topolski. Prince Philip and Feliks (as he was generally known, even by his children) were members of the Thursday Club that used to meet in a first floor private room at Wheeler’s Restaurant in the West End, and the Prince visited the artist’s studio under the arches on the South Bank on numerous occasions. He had the idea of commissioning Topolski to paint a huge panorama of Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation, inspired by one that had been done of William IV’s. The work still occupies an entire corridor in the Palace, and even it wasn’t exactly what Prince Philip had been expecting, he remarked later that Topolski had created a ‘fascinating record of a great state occasion presented in his own highly individualistic idiom.’ His comments this afternoon were characteristically forthright and will certainly enrich the relevant section of the biography.