A candle-lit Pastel Society UK dinner Saturday at London’s Mall Galleries marked not only the closing of its annual exhibition, but the retirement of President Moira Huntly. She has been president for the past six years, but, as many friends and colleagues have pointed out, she has been a force in the organization’s development for many more years than that.
Huntly was elected a member of the society in 1978, and almost immediately took a place on its council. She served as honorary secretary and then honorary treasurer. In 1993, she began a decade working as vice president alongside first the late John Blockley, and second, Tom Coates—two past presidents who did a great deal to raise the profile and status of the society.
“When I joined, the society, quite honestly, was not very good,” Huntly said. “There was very little exciting work, and too many chocolate box paintings and portrait sketches. Now I believe we put on one of the best shows in London.”
Vice President Bob Last then made the first of a carefully sequenced series of presentations, starting with an etched, stainless steel commemorative plaque. Huntly’s love of ceramics was marked with the presentation of a large pot in the style of the famous potter Hans Coper. She also received a check for £1200—”toward a holiday in Venice”—and a large bouquet of peach roses.
As one artist at the dinner noted, “Unusually, she has been able to combine great charm with a steely determination. She has been a very popular president.” Huntly will continue to serve on the council of the Pastel Society UK. She is succeeded by John Ivor Stewart.
(Pictured: New Pastel Society UK President Bob Last made the first of a series of presentations to outgoing President Moira Huntly. Photo: Ken Gofton)