Illustrator Mike Payne Presents Portrait to the Royal Hospital

7th August 2019

Illustrator Mike Payne visited the Infirmary at the Royal Hospital Chelsea this morning to present his latest artwork, commissioned by the son of Chelsea Pensioner Terry Chaffer.

In front of an appreciative crowd, artist Mike Payne unveiled his latest work "Army No. 22289090". Partly inspired by the style of the secretive street artist 'Banksy', it was created to show another side of the Chelsea Pensioners that is perhaps less often seen outside the gates of the Royal Hospital. The painting was commissioned by Jools, son of Chelsea Pensioner Terry Chaffer, who wanted to give something back to the Royal Hospital in recognition of the incredible characters who live here.

 Jools explained;

I wanted to give something back and didn't know how to express the thoughts and admiration I had in my head for the Chelsea Pensioners and their world famous scarlet coat. 

As it turns out, Jools had a connection to artist Mike Payne, who is most known for his design of the 'Tatty Teddy' series which adorned greetings cards from the late 1980s and are still popular to this day. Mike helped to take Jool's ideas and inspirations and transfer this to canvas. Jools was overwhelmed with the results;

I met with Mike to see a photo of his first attempt and he explained that if I wasn't happy he'd start again. When he turned over the photo of the painting, I was speechless - it was perfect.

Mr Payne very kindly completed the commission without charge and explained that he was happy to donate towards such a wonderful cause. He also explained his inspiration behind the finished piece;

I was motivated to create something a little bit different to the usual image of a Chelsea Pensioner holding onto a stick. I thought I would mimic the style of Banksy, who seems to be very popular - even when his work is sprayed onto someone's garden wall.

Following the unveiling, Mike also gave a glimpse into how he designed 'Tatty Teddy' and gave a short tutorial on how he begins his illustrations. He also kindly promised to return and provide a masterclass to any Chelsea Pensioners who wanted to learn more about his illustration process.

The painting will later be permanently displayed in the Infirmary on Paget Ward.

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