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The Victoria Stakes, London, 17 October 2022

24 Oct 2022

I emerged from the London Overground at Crouch Hill. More than nine years ago, on the occasion of my first booking with The Moon and Nude, I turned left for The Old Dairy pub. Now I turn right on a far longer walk, almost five years to the day since my debut for them at their current home: The Victoria Stakes. I arrived early, got a large red wine and ascended to where an oval of chairs awaited in the function room.

Artwork by Rosalind Freeborn.

Artwork by Rosalind Freeborn.

At the centre of the oval was a tapestry suitcase, waiting to be opened and disgorged of art materials. I sat alone in the half-light, feeling nostalgia for bygone sessions until my reverie was restored to the present when The Moon and Nude’s Julia walked in. It didn’t take long for the space to be ready and artists to join us. The sequence of pose lengths remained just as I fondly remembered, beginning: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 minutes.

Artwork by Rosalind Freeborn.

Artwork by Rosalind Freeborn.

The classic sequence continued – pose lengths of 10, 15, and 20 minutes took us up to an interval. Different groups operate different timings, but it’s not uncommon to get asked for three poses of 10 to 20 minutes before a break. Nowadays my tendency is to favour one pose standing, one sitting and one reclining. It’s just a question of what order. This evening as I sat for 10 minutes, stood for 15, and reclined for 20.

Artwork by Rosalind Freeborn.

The second half would be a single pose of 40 minutes. I was feeling comfortable and altruistic so I asked Julia, “Is there any particular type of pose the group would prefer: standing, sitting, reclining? What have other models done recently?” Julia’s reply: “To be honest, most just lay down.” Very well… I would stand. Not an act of self-sacrifice, heroism or one-upmanship; I just felt warmly disposed and supportive in the moment.

Artwork by Rosalind Freeborn.

Life modelling can be unpredictable. I’d stood for 40-minutes and felt only a couple of dull aches whereas a few seconds into the opening 1-minute pose I’d been seized by the most painful cramp in my left calf, which lingered for days. But overall it had been a gentle evening. Whilst it’s great to work with many groups, I cherish my long history and feeling of connection with The Moon and Nude. See you again soon: 9 January!

From → Art

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