David McFall R.A. (1919 - 1988)


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1975/5 HRH The Prince of Wales

Portrait head

Height 13"


Exhibited Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

1976 Catalogue No. 1335

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

Illustrated 1976 page 51


1) The Sunday Times 30/11/75 p.5. 6 sittings in the Yellow Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace; "...the bronze was delivered to the Palace last Friday..."

2) The Observer 30/11/75 p.2

3) The Sunday Telegraph 30/11/75 front page

4) The Sunday Express 30/11/75: "... commissioned a year ago for £1000 plus by the Prince himself..."  But, according to Mrs McFall, the bust was done without charge as a present in lieu of a rent increase.  McFall was using a studio owned by the Duchy of Cornwall in Kennington and when the lease came up for renewal a large rent increase was proposed. McFall proposed that he do a bust free of charge for the Prince instead of the rent increase, and this was accepted.

5) People December 22, 1975 Vol. 4 No. 25: The State of His Head Is Bronzed for a Future Head of State.  Prince Charles," says sculptor David McFall, "was completely, totally relaxed. He had time to put me at ease." The object of McFall's attention sat for his likeness in six sessions over the year. The 55-year-old McFall and the 27-year-old Charles got on famously. "He has a great sense of fun," says McFall. "He's a wonderful clown and mimic. But underneath he's serious, with a mind of his own. I don't think he will suffer fools lightly."

Each sitting took place in the Yellow Drawing Room of London's Buckingham Palace, overlooking the gate where the changing of the guard takes place (which Charles always watched through the window). "We talked of everything under the sun," McFall remembers, "Theatre, music, archaeology, vandalism, violence, education, bringing up children. He's passionately interested in all these things. He chafes at being limited by royal protocol."  McFall, a 5'6" Scot with white hair, moustache and goatee, once did an 8½-foot bronze of Churchill when Sir Winston was 83. He has also done Clement Attlee, Lord Balfour and composer Ralph Vaughan Williams.   At one point in the Charles assignment, McFall let his South African wife, actress Alexandra Dane watch him sculpt. The prince entertained her with a falsetto imitation of Queen Victoria giving the future king some advice: "I think you should join the army. You'll travel the world over and meet the most interesting people. Then you could go out and shoot them."

While McFall worked, photographer Stanley Devon, 68, snapped pictures for the London Sunday Times. "Prince Charles is right down to things that matter," says Devon. "In him, they've got something." For Devon, who has been taking pictures of royalty since the time of Prince Charles's great-grandfather, George V, it was his last assignment before retirement."They are all photogenic," he says of the family. "But the Queen Mother stands out a mile. She understands publicity—like an actress." Like any savvy professional, Devon knows the rules of the courtly game. "You must not," he says wisely, "make them look foolish—scratching their behinds or pulling their clothes down or picking their noses."

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