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 The BP Portrait Awards

You told us to lock eyes,

Get up close and personal;

Be inspired by Hogarth’s words

And if in doubt, swipe right.

But I didn’t expect a face-to-face with Fairfax

Over the Sancerre and sea bass.

But the Roundhead was a better with pike blocks than with banter

And sadly for me he sat impassively

As I munched on burrata and asparagus,

So I talked instead with Karen.

You might have warned us Dr. Schama

That we’d been invited a Game of Thrones theme night dinner

Where House Stuart showed once more how if you win, you lose

And three big names – Strafford, Laud and Charles

Looked down at us with hauteur and as yet their heads,

As we sat below the salt

Contemplating life’s greatest dilemma:

Of being wrong but romantic;

Or being right, but repulsive?