Celebrities including Jude Law, Colin Firth and Jeremy Irons attended a celebration of Harold Pinter’s life at the National Theatre on Sunday, where a portrait of Pinter playing cricket was on display prior to a charity auction in support of The Lord’s Taverners, recreational cricket’s official charity.
The metre-square portrait, in oils, was originally presented to Pinter by his teammates at Gaieties Cricket Club as a mark of their esteem and gratitude for his 40 years service. Pinter, one of the most influential playwrights of his generation, liked the portrait so much that he gave it pride of place in his study, telling artist Joe Hill: “On the evidence of this painting, I should have opened the batting for England!”
The portrait is being auctioned to raise money for The Lord’s Taverners, one of the UK’s leading youth sports and disability charities, to help give disadvantaged youngsters the opportunity to play cricket, a cause close to Harold’s heart. The winner will be announced at a Pinter tribute event at Lord’s on 27 September following a celebrity cricket match between a Lord’s Taverners XI, captained by the former England skipper Mike Brearley, and a Gaieties XI.
Actor Harry Burton, Pinter’s close friend and Gaieties teammate, said “Harold was a passionate cricket fan and a supporter of charities like The Lord’s Taverners which help give young people access to sport and recreational activities. He would be delighted to know that the portrait will help give youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to play cricket.”
Matthew Patten, Chief Executive of The Lord’s Taverners “Harold Pinter was a huge cricket fan and great supporter of The Lord’s Taverners. This is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate one of this country’s great playwrights and help raise funds for disadvantaged youngsters.”
To place a bid for the portrait, e-mail [email protected]