I had never heard of Lucian Freud until the early nineties when my great friend Leigh Bowery started sitting for him. I then kept seeing articles and references to him and
On the day I was to start, Leigh came round to my flat first and made me
His reminiscences from the past and his take on
It makes me laugh when people ask ‘were you able to see the painting before he finished?’, as each one was at least six feet wide and facing me as he painted it. I was in the very privileged position of seeing the portrait from the first stroke to the last. He didn’t always work in the same way, sometimes doing a watery sketch of the whole picture or else he would start on the head and almost complete it before doing anything else.
Often the picture might grow bigger than the canvas so he would have to send it away to get the whole frame stretched. Props such as my Caterpillar boots and an
As well as the joy of seeing a great painter at work, I always looked forward to the lunches; either Lucian would cook some delicious food or we would go to a swanky restaurant. That was my
People also ask me how exciting was it when we were doing Benefits Supervisor Sleeping but I always let them down and say it was just like going to work, it wasn’t as if as soon as I arrived a fanfare of trumpets would sound and Lucian would announce ‘Let work begin on the most expensive painting in the world’.
However I am forever grateful for being allowed to lie on those
Sue Tilley, Manager at DWP and life model