June Mendoza (20 November)
Born in Melbourne, Australia, June Mendoza is among the most prolific of portrait painters. Her family background and legacy are impressively musical: her father was a violinist, her mother a pianist, and of her four children, two daughters are professional musicians. Her subjects range from royalty (she has painted among others, the Queen, the Queen Mother and the Prince of Wales), sports people, religious leaders, politicians (including Margaret Thatcher) and of course musicians. To date there are some 90 of these, including portraits of Joan Sutherland, and Tippett, and among the many conductors, she has painted Elder, Menuhin, Mackerras, Solti, Colin Davis and Marriner. Not to mention Putney Music’s vice-president the tenor Ian Partridge (and, to their great delight, Putney Music’s programme secretaries Peter Avis and Andrew Keener). Working to commission, she also paints people she describes as her ‘pickups’, portraying them simply because they interest her. Among her many honours are that of the OBE, the Royal Institute of Portrait Painters and the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. A sheep was taken across London Bridge when she was awarded the Freedom of the City of London
Somehow she finds time for hobbies: theatre (she has experience as an actress: ‘TV, film and one West End show’), sporadic needlepoint, patchwork, knitting and seeing friends. Hers has also been a well-travelled life: as a ‘Shell wife’, she spent five years in the Philippines and four in Australia, and has travelled in the Far East.
Her appearance at Putney Music – very likely to be accompanied by some of her wonderful portraits of musicians – is certain to be full of insights into what attracts both her eye and her ear.