Self-Portrait of Rupert Brooke's Secret Lover Saved

The following is an excerpt from the Rupert Brooke Society website:

We are delighted to be able to report that the ‘Fairy Gold’ Appeal has been a great success, largely thanks to so many of our members making generous donations but also to non-members worldwide who heard of our appeal and backed it. It has been truly heartwarming to see the level of support.

We took the appeal to the Irish Wolfhound world, to whom Phyllis Gardner is something of a heroine (as she helped save the breed from near extinction) and they donated well, as did members of the public who read about the appeal in Country Life magazine (22 June issue). Word was also spread through the Alliance of Literary Societies which led to members from other literary societies contributing, the most notable of which was the George Eliot Fellowship who donated £100 from their own funds. Support was worldwide: donations came in from New Zealand, China, U.S.A, Canada, Australia, Norway, Germany and Greece, and I’ve been told that our special issue ‘Fairy Gold’ card is now gracing the walls in homes in many of these countries. We are also grateful and proud to have received the full backing of Rupert Brooke Trustees, Jon Stallworthy and Andrew Motion, who provided us with statements of support and a sizable donation from the Rupert Brooke Estate which really helped boost the appeal.

It is important to acknowledge the key role King’s College, Cambridge, has played in all this. From the onset they appreciated the beauty and value of Phyllis Gardner’s self-portrait, donated a large amount towards its purchase, and worked closely with the RBS to make sure ‘Fairy Gold’ become a permanent resident of the College. Special mention must go to Dr Nicholas Marston, Chairman of the King’s Adornment Committee, for his support and enthusiasm.

Finally, none of this would have come about, had it not been for Andrew Sim of Sim Fine Art recognising the connection between Phyllis Gardner and Rupert Brooke, and therefore approaching the Society to tell us he had just purchased ‘Fairy Gold’ in auction. From beginning to end Andrew has gone out of his way to assist the RBS and King’s in purchasing the painting, by both bringing the painting to Cambridge so it could be viewed, and giving us the all-important amount of time to run the appeal. We are sincerely grateful to him.

Thank you all so much for getting behind this appeal and making it such a succes

Phyllis Gardner with one of her beloved Irish Wolfhounds, 1934.

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