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Gary Pearce -
I received a call from the secretary of the Northampton Supporters' Club.
''How much to paint Gary Pearce''
A week later ''We have the money. When can you start?''
The Supporters had taken a few buckets round the crowd at the next home game against Bath, and such was Gary's popularity, both as a player and as a man that they had raised more than enough to pay for the portrait.
''We got as much from the Bath supporters as from Northampton''
At the time he was England's most capped prop, and had been a loyal Northampton player for all of his career.I had played against him many times, and can testify that he was the hardest man on the field and the sweetest man off it. The portrait hangs in ''The Gary Pearce Suite'' at Franklins Gardens. Dean Richards -
One of the greatest players of his generation and most people's choice as the greatest no8 of all time. He redefined the position. He was unaccountably left out of England's 1991 World Cup Final team, England lost. In all the time since, I have not been able to provoke him into saying anything negative about that famous decision, or the people who made it.
His great lumbering gait and his easy going accessibility belie a man of fierce intellect and moral courage.
He moved effortlessly from playing to coaching, and has led Leicester Tigers to two back to back European Championships and a few English titles.
Do not play cards against him.
Do not try and outdrink him. Steve Brain -
I had played against Steve Brain, the England hooker, on many occasions; always a bruising experience. When I moved on to coach Rugby Lions, I helped persuade him to leave Coventry and play for us. An even more bruising experience.
The painting's irony lies in the white shirts of both England and Rugby Lions, when he moved to Rugby he never played for England again. John Batchelor -
Mr Batchelor is the man who sews the balls together at Gilbert's Museum in Rugby, Warwickshire. He is master of his trade with those huge and dextrous hands.
Go there, and say hello. He is very easily drawn into any topic vaguely related to Rugby. Wayne Shelford -
detail Wayne Shelford -
I painted two portraits of Wayne Shelford. This, the more private and intimate, which I believe went back to New Zealand with him after his sojourn in Northampton. He had made such an impact on Northampton Rugby Club that the committee felt that his stay should be celebrated in the form of a portrait. His impact had not just been as a player, formidable though he was, but he brought enormous strength of character and firm conviction in the values of Rugby Football.
Wayne Shelford -
Wayne Shelford is one of history's great Rugby players. An important element in New Zealand's 1987 World Cup Winning team, he went on to Captain the All Blacks, who, I believe, never lost under his leadership.
This is the 'public' portrait, and I believe it hangs in the 'Wayne Shelford Suite' at Franklins Gardens.
He would arrive for sittings exactly on time, drink a full pot of coffee over the first hour's posing, and then like a burst dam, launch into a polemic about Rugby or politics, or usually both. I learned more about Rugby, painting Mr Shelford, than I did on all the courses and clinics I ever attended.
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