Legendary explorer Robin Hanbury-Tenison is star of upcoming exhibition of portraits
According to Tatler,
Date: 22 July 2021
Robin Hanbury-Tenison, the octogenarian adventurer, has done much in his life, a legendary explorer and conservationist, author of some 20 books and as the president of a charity of his own creation, Survival International. His biggest threat came not on some wild, remote mountain being kidnapped by Afghan tribesmen or capsizing in a swamp full of caimans in the Amazon, instead it came from Covid-19. He was struck down in a 49-day battle in which doctors gave him a 20 per cent chance of survival.
He contracted the virus early last March, a couple of days after returning from a skiing trip in France. There, according to his wife, Louella, he had been ‘skiing like a demon’ before falling nearly fatally ill. Hanbury-Tenison had no underlying health conditions, and, yet, within 24-hours of his arrival at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth he was sedated and put on a ventilator for five weeks with failing lungs and kidneys.
It’s this experience that has prompted his latest endeavour, as the painted subject in a new exhibition by the Lots Road Group of artists. The exhibition, opening on Tuesday 27 July, is entitled ‘Beyond the Door’ and is the outcome of the last year or so of lockdowns. It will feature portraits by 15 artists created during the pandemic, which are representative of the ‘unprecedented’, to use something of a buzzword, time – whether the subject has had Covid or they are someone the artist has spent lockdown with.
Hanbury-Tenison says that it was being wheeled out, riddled with tubes, into the first ICU healing garden in the country that woke him up and saved his life. In a foreword to the exhibition, Hanbury-Tenison explains that he has, ‘so far raised over £120,000 for healing gardens in hospitals and the Royal Cornwall Hospital Garden will be opening this month.’ The Lots Road Group will encourage contributions to this worthwhile cause at the exhibition.
Regarding the exhibition’s title, the Lots Road Group explains: ‘The doors to our homes have been both bulwarks against a dangerous world and a means of escape from confinement. The word “beyond” in the title of the exhibition is deliberately ambiguous, allowing exploration of both interior and exterior worlds through the medium of portraiture.’ Located in Bermondsey’s vibrant artistic area, this exhibition will be well worth going to see, for the Hanbury-Tenison oil painting by Sarah Reynolds alone.
‘Beyond the Door – portraits and other recent work’ runs at the Bermondsey Project Space, 185 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3UW from Tuesday 27-Saturday 31 July 2021, 11am-6pm