IMAGINE how you would feel upon discovering you had been immortalised in an £8,000 painting by an award-winning artist.
That’s exactly what happened to Sheila and Nigel Bamforth.
You may remember my story three weeks ago about miniaturist Bill Mundy’s latest work featuring the royal barge Gloriana at this year’s Thames Traditional Boat Festival in Henley in July.
Just visible on deck was Bill’s friend and the festival organiser Lady McAlpine, of Fawley Hill, as I pointed out.
However, what I didn’t mention was the couple in the foreground of the painting as I didn’t know who they were — until now.
It was the Bamforths, who live in Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire but are regular faces along the Henley reach.
The couple were at Peter Freebody’s boatyard in Hurley when they were shown the Diary item from that week’s Henley Standard by a friend and this prompted Mrs Bamforth to get in touch with me.
“We were a bit shocked,” she says. “We didn’t know or have any idea. We have gone to the boat festival for the last two years and really enjoyed it.
“We thought it was better this year as there seemed to be more things going on and the weather was nice.”
The couple regularly visit Henley in their cabin cruiser Tobillie, which Mrs Bamforth says often draws admiring glances.
The boat was already named when they bought her and they decided not to change it after making a discovery.
Mrs Bamforth explains: “Our second grandchild had just been born and the parents had not told us what her name was to be.
“When they saw the name of the boat there was amazement as they had named the baby Billie to go with her older sister Talulah, so Tobillie works quite well for us, although it was totally unplanned.”
Meanwhile, Bill, who lives in Wargrave Road, Henley, says the couple were on the left of the photograph he took to help him with the painting but were moved to the right in the piece for balance.
“I didn’t know who they were but they were obviously very interested in boats,” he adds.