In a move which has surprised both the art community and those close to Mrs Threadbone, the intensely private entrepreneur and serial winner of the prestigious Dorset Businesswoman of the Year Award has agreed to permit the Royal Dorset Academy of Arts to display her "Self Portrait with Mr Threadbone" for a limited period. The work which was completed in 2006 in commemoration of her Ruby Wedding Anniversary has never been seen before but was the subject of praise from no less an art authority than HM the Queen, who wrote to Mrs Threadbone to congratulate her on her achievement after a delay of only 12 years.
The hitherto unseen portrait - fashioned in the relatively unusual medium of toothpicks - will go on show tomorrow as the central exhibit in the Dorset Neo-Conservative Realism Exhibition hosted by the Royal Dorset Academy of Arts in the Edna Whisky McNightly Room of the Threadbone Gallery, Crendell. The work is on temporary loan until 2 March and is expected to attract a number of visitors. Gallery Curator - Vallery Kurator - says the Academy is thrilled to have the opportunity to bring this unusual work before the public. "We are delighted to have the opportunity to bring this unusual work before the public", she said. "As soon as we discovered that the Threadbone Corporation was willing to sponsor its display we jumped at the chance". So does the work have artistic merit or is this merely opportunism on the part of an Institution always eager to cash in on any chance to make money however meretricious? Ms Kurator is coy: "Well you could say that but I couldn't possibly comment. As a representative of an Institution always eager to cash in on any chance to make money however meretricious, it would be wrong to commit to either view".
HEALTH AND SAFETY CONCERNS:
Members of the public - especially those accompanied by small children and senile older relatives - are asked to note that special Health and Safety rules are in place for those visiting the exhibition. Chief of Dorset Health and Safety, Joyce Killjoy, was at pains to point out that "Toothpicks are potentially very dangerous being sharply pointed at both ends. For this reason we discourage any attempt to feel the texture of the painting and have made it clear to the RDAA that they must take all possible measures to protect the public from injury".
Mrs Threadbone's celebrated and "Royally Approved" "Self Portrait with Mr Threadbone" is to go on display for a brief period in the Edna Whisky McNightly Room of the Threadbone Gallery, RDAA, Crendell. Elaborate safety precautions are in place to protect the public from harm, given the highly dangerous medium in which the portrait is rendered.