Mistaken identity


The portrait that I copied

I saw the original 1960 Spartacus with one of my older brothers when it came to our local cinema for a second time around 1963. There was an A4 size booklet on sale consisting of stills and portraits of the cast from the film. My brother bought one. When I returned home I flicked through the booklet recalling some of the scenes and actors. The one cast member that stood out for me was Jean Simmons. The elegant contours of her face were too hard for my artistic eye to resist. I grabbed my sketch pad and did a pencil portrait of her and took it to school on the Monday to show my teacher. She was very pleased and thanked me very much for it before placing it carefully in her desk drawer. I was confused; I only meant to show her the drawing not give it to her. I returned to my seat not knowing what to say or do to get it back. However, as I sat through the lesson I looked at the teacher and discovered a remarkable similarity between her delicate face and that of Jean Simmons’. It then dawned on me that the teacher thought the drawing was a portrait of her and that was why she thanked me. A case of mistaken identity. I decided not to rectify the mistake, pleased that she thought it good enough to keep. After class she gathered her things including the drawing and dismissed us.. I wonder if she still has it.


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