Wednesday, November 26, 2008
As promised here are my RCA Secret experiences.
As is now becoming customary the build up to the show went very smoothly for the college with some good press articles and new contributors announced. I busied myself in the build up to the show by ferreting around on the internet finding articles on the show and refining my research on contributors.
Excitement built as the Friday approached and I did find myself refreshing the RCA Secret website at around 11am eager to see the cards on show. The college got them all up promptly and the next few days were spent looking through them all, working out which ones I liked best.
I went to the show proper on the Sunday, bought raffle tickets and took my daughter round it. She made a list of her favourite cards herself – many of which were far more bright and colourful than the cards on my list.
One further trip to see to show followed during the week and then come Friday morning I was ready to start camping. I woke up really early on Friday with a stinking cold and feeling pretty awful so instead of doing the sensible thing and rolling over and going back to sleep I decided to get up and get to the show as soon as possible.
I packed all my things up including my new purchase – an inflatable mattress for inside my tent and headed off.
I must have arrived around 9ish in the morning and busily set up my tent. The usual suspects were turning up or already there – Peter had been there for some time – Adam turned up shortly after me, John followed a few minutes later and then Chris an hour or so after that. I was 15th in the normal queue – thus 65th in the overall queue including the raffle ticket winners.
Once the college opened its doors we all piled inside and spent the next few hours looking through all the cards, selecting favourites and spotting, even at this late stage, cards we hadn’t seen before. By now I had three favourite cards – the Peter Jones monkey (inevitably), a beautiful pencil sketch of a woman’s face, and another pencil sketch of a tree or flower nymph. My favourite set of cards was a series of oil paintings of boats which I had known from previous sales were by Frances Fogg (although I don’t know a great deal more about her than that – any information gratefully received). I’d just missed out on one of these cards last year and was hoping that this year would be luckier in that respect.
Lunch followed with the usual suspects at Wagamammas and then a further few hours browsing the cards in the afternoon, all the time spending some time outside as well in the queue chatting to others.
Finally the doors closed and we were turfed out on to the street to commence waiting. I stood outside with the wind whistling down Kensington Gore with my phone in hand waiting and hoping for that raffle call. Sadly whilst others got the call around us in the queue I didn’t. After three years of the raffle I still haven’t won – maybe next year.
It was bitterly cold in the queue this year. Possibly even colder than 2007 with predictions on the weather forecast for snow and frost. The fact that I had a stinking cold didn’t help, especially with friends and family who thought I was mad to queue all night for this with the way I was feeling. But I had a flask and lemsip, a tent and a great sleeping bag which meant I was reasonably warm. I even got a few hours kip.
Around 6.30 we started packing up our stuff. As usual there were a number of queue bargers at the front of the queue. Many of them I think genuinely didn’t realise where the queue started and were thankful to us for letting them know that they were in the wrong place, and directing them to where they needed to go. As is customary, however, there were a couple of belligerent souls who believed they had a god given right to push in front of the now 400 odd people who had been queueing patiently. I don’t know what happened to them in the end but they weren’t around by the time we had packed up all out tents and, at least in part organised by me, formed our orderly queue.
The raffle winners were all milling about excitedly and it was there that I saw how many of the queue regulars had won the raffle – the two chris j’s, Austin, Gavin, Peter – this made me seriously concerned about what might be left when I got to the front of the queue.
As we were waiting news filtered out of what had been picked up by the raffle winners, one of the Chris’s came out telling me that he had landed “the jackpot” – 3 Regos and a Fedden. I also learnt that the Peter Jones card had gone to the lady queueing just behind me (whose name I have temporarily forgotten – apologies), who had won the raffle but elected to spend the night on the street with her husband in any event – now that’s spousal dedication for you!
Thankfully this year we were allowed in a bit earlier – whilst there were approximately 15 raffle ticket winners ahead of us. This gave us all time to mark off on our list more of the cards that had been sold, and definitely made the queue move quicker. As usual there was the occasional moan from the queue when a card that was really wanted had gone. By the time I got to the front nearly all of the obvious big name artists cards had gone but most of my favourite cards were still there.
I therefore had a pretty good idea about what had sold and what hadn’t, but was determined to be disciplined about going through my list of those I hadn’t checked off, just in case a card had been missed by those ahead of me in the queue. It took me a while but I went off upstairs happy with my purchases.
So what did I get? The pencil sketch of the woman’s face (possibly Penelope Cruz – whaddya think?) that was by Josie McCoy. I think this card is absolutely lovely but was possibly missed by many people who glanced over it as being a photograph or digital image.
My tree or flower nymph which, as I suspected, was by Lucie Bennett. I love this one.
One of the boats by Frances Fogg which I just think is so beautiful– as I said above all information about this artist gratefully received.
And finally a lovely card by an artist who I believe is Oxford based called Marie Boyle.
I was very pleased with my haul and had a great time, as ever, with friends from the queue, new and old. Congratulations to the college on another very successful sale. See you all again back for RCA Secret 2009!
Posted by pezlow at 8:23 PM