Painting for Prince Albert of Monaco
Written by Susan Bell
Friday, 06 April 2012 12:14
In May 2011 while exhibiting for a second time at the RHS Chelsea Flower show I received a commission from the Principality of Monaco to paint the gold medal winning Monaco show garden designed by Sarah Eberle.
Roger Shine who was on the steering committee for the garden and a close friend to Prince Albert commissioned the painting which I then presented in person to Prince Albert in Monaco. After meeting Roger on my stand at Chelsea I then had a meeting with him and Sarah Eberle, the gardens designer, on the balcony of the Monaco show garden above all the lavender to discuss how the commission would proceed. We discussed which angle of the garden was favoured for the painting and then it was over to me.
After being commissioned I was to move house and live through renovations on the house whilst trying to concentrate on the painting which wasn't always easy as you might imagine. Luckily although the painting took me longer than anticipated everyone involved was pleased with the results.
So in December 2011 my husband and I flew out to Monaco for the presentation of the painting to HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco. The private event at the Princesse Grace Theatre involved a screening of a short film by Jonathan Shine on the making of the Monaco show garden at the Chelsea Flower Show from concept to finish. In front of an audience of over 200 guests there were also presentations of medals for members of the design team including Sarah Eberle and Peter Dowle.
Finally at the end of the evening I went on stage to present the painting to Prince Albert. His comments after we unveiled it were that I had really captured the garden so of course I was really pleased. I was told that Prince Albert would put the painting in his office.
After drinks and further photographs with the Prince at the theatre we were then kindly invited by Roger to join the team for dinner at the Cafe de Paris. Sitting next to the retired England cricketer, Ted Dexter and his wife Susan made the night all the more special.
"It has been an honour to paint such a wonderfully designed garden and a challenge along the way also. There is a lot of geometry in the architecture of the design, which slightly moves away from my more impressionistic pointillist style.
I had to try and forget that this was a painting for royalty in order to keep the creativity flowing. My four year old daughter however really loved the idea that I was painting for a Prince and of course I did too”
Garden designer Sarah Eberle commented on Susan’s painting,
“How stunning is that!!! I just love it as it captures the character, the colour and the ambience of the garden....an absolutely true likeness which Susan's style suits so well.”
For anyone interested in owning their own version of this original painting I have released a print of the Monaco Garden painting. See under PRINTS.