The Younger Officers of The Inns Of Court & City Yeomanry commissioned a painting to celebrate their comradship back in 2007. As their Mess rooms are fairly proportioned they decided to indulge their good humour by ordering the painting to be 8 foot wide!
Their Mess is on Chancery lane, and as their Unit Name suggests they are closely connected to all the Inns of the Law Courts. This Mess is hidden on the top floor of their ‘Drill Hall’, the Drill Hall of HQ 68 Signal Squadron which was formally the Officer Training Corps for the Great War as well as an Armoured Cars and Anti aircraft Unit.
The Painting depicts a carder of 8 serving officers in a state of dress only acceptable after midnight! Their uniforms are in various states of adornment and undress and the toys and military accoutrements hidden around the paining would be highly irregular if produced in reality. Most of the Officers show the emblems of service over seas from Bosnia to Iraq, and since one of the officers has just recovered from a rocket attack in Afghanistan the painting describes the glory, thrill and friendship enjoyed by being a British Army TA officer. The dedication expected of a TA Officer is never fully appreciated, for they receive approximately one eighth of the training time of the Regular army yet TA soldiers and Officers must perform as well as their Regular counterparts.
Originally the painting also depicted the Queen Mother taking a drink with the Mess and also the Lady in Red (Lt Vaughn) had a garter of linked ammunition peeping out from her ball gown, but these amusing adaptations were considered to hot for the parent unit of the Squadron. Thus a slightly more tame painting has been seen at the Armed Forces Exhibition. The work is still considered to jovial at present to hang in the Mess, and therefore it will be hung in a Mayfair Club who are only to pleased to display such an expression of joyous service to the Crown.
At the Armed Forces Art Society the huge painting immediately pulled a large crowd and when the Artist arrived the onlookers shocked him by pointing out that the painting had received a commendation from the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers.
Among the objects to be hunted for in the painting are the sabraged cork from the champagne bottle, a ladybird and a Blue Peter badge! The snuffed out candle commemorates a popular soldier who was killed whist riding on duty, Trooper Will Hine.
To see the painting in all its entertaining glory please make an appointment with Artist, Captain Hugh Beattie.