MR ERIC MORECAMBE

Portrait of Mr Eric Morecambe

Oil on canvas, 50 x 40 inches, 1979

A charcoal study

Richard Stone with Eric Morecambe

Anglia Television had been keen to make a prime-time documentary of my artistic journey from postman’s son to, apparently, a favourite Court artist. However, they were somewhat at a loss as to who would be a suitable subject for me to paint for the programme. An Anglia TV executive suggested that he would ask his friend Eric Morecambe if there was any possibility that he would subject himself to the scrutiny not only of the TV camera, but also of an almost unknown young artist.

After an initial meeting with me at his home in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, Eric agreed to give it a go, and a series of sittings were booked and a studio hired in a disused warehouse overlooking Tower Bridge. The filming of Morecambe and Stone was an incredibly enjoyable experience. Eric’s spontaneous joking, his reminiscences of his childhood days on stage and the insight into the influences shaping his comic genius were fascinating.

Eric was happy to participate in the film for no fee other than the portrait itself, if he liked it. However, there was to be one proviso. As the credits rolled over his portrait at the end of the film, he insisted on adding a ‘d’ to the end of my surname. A final comic touch that didn’t remain on the picture for posterity.