Mr Charles Brocklebank

Oil on canvas, 36 x 28 inches, 1991. Private collection

When Charles Brocklebank suggested that I paint his portrait, he said he would like to include an allusion to his family’s maritime background. The shipping line of Thos. & Jno. Brocklebank was founded in Whitehaven in 1770, and the ship in the painting is the Everest, the fastest tea clipper that Brocklebanks ever built. Its portrait was painted by a Hong Kong ship painter called Nam Ting in 1864. Brocklebanks sailed mainly to India, so this was a rare representation of their China trade. In the Second World War, half of the Brocklebank fleet had been sunk by May 1940, but the name survived as Cunard Brocklebank until 1982.

Charles farmed in Suffolk and lived at Giffords Hall, an important Tudor manor house built around 1494. I painted this portrait of him in his study, wearing his favourite tie and looking out of the window at the mediaeval walled garden.