It was with huge sadness last week that we heard of the death of art dealer, bon viveur and all round good egg Rupert Blunt. Rupert was practically an institution in Walcot Street and will be sorely missed by his countless friends across all walks of life. In some ways he was the epitome of a grumpy old man but always with a mischievous twinkle in his eye. He was also a bit of a natty dresser and prone to doffing his cap in an old fashioned way. In other words, to employ a much abused cliché, he was quite a character!
Amongst his many artistic activities Rupert was a great friend and ardent supporter of Natural Theatre Company. In fact he was one of our longest standing board members.
Rupert recently retired from the board, having, as he put it, given his all. For almost two decades he rarely missed a board meeting. If he wasn’t there it meant he was off to some distant land for he was a great traveller. Like all travellers he had some fine tales to tell, and like all traveller’s tales these could be gloriously embroidered.
After a particularly dull board meeting it was grand to slip off to the pub with Rupert and have a good old gossip. I’m sure his partner Sheila won’t mind me remembering him through humour, so here’s one of his stories that has a definite ring of authenticity.
Rupert once rolled up at a very basic hotel in a one horse mining town in the back of beyond in Australia. It was a real spit and sawdust place, straight out of the movies. On going to his room he found there was no lock on the door and risking being labelled a whinging Pom he went back downstairs with great trepidation to complain. Unfazed, the barman/receptionist produced a large screwdriver from under the counter and exclaimed ‘No worries mate! Just take a lock off one of the other doors!’
Rupert’s demise came rather suddenly and we hadn’t even got round to writing the thank you letter on his retirement. So I’ll happily do that duty now. Thanks Rupes for all the laughs and all your years of support. Missing you already!