Drawing: Susan Hampshire in An Ideal Husband

Autographed drawing of Susan Hampshire in An Ideal Husband at the Vaudeville Theatre on London's West End

If you’re ever feeling a bit downcast, a couple of minutes with the absolutely delightful Susan Hampshire, who celebrated her 81st birthday recently, will take your blues away. I was feeling rather chipper in fact when I met Susan, one of my all time favourite actresses at the Vaudeville stage door last week, but felt even better after our brief encounter.

Susan is back on the London stage as Lady Markby in Jonathan Church’s star-studded revival of Oscar Wilde’s glittering comedy AN IDEAL HUSBAND. After an initial run at the Theatre Royal Bath last year, the production, settled into the Vaudeville Theatre in May for a two month residency as part of Classic Spring’s year-long Wilde season.

In his Guardian review, Michael Billington wrote, “Susan Hampshire brilliantly turns the gossiping Lady Markby into an unquenchable social gusher.” Paul Taylor, in the Independent continued the compliments, “Susan Hampshire is an absolute delight as Lady Markby, wittering away about modern manias in an hilarious tour de force of empty-headed high society prattling.”

My two-minute conversation with Susan included mutual admiration for each other’s artistic prowess, as she happily signed this character drawing I did of her.

Drawing: Susan Hampshire

I was very pleased to receive my drawing of British actress Susan Hampshire back yesterday, signed and dedicated. I have been a big fan since I first saw her in Disney’s THE THREE LIVES OF THOMASINA in 1964. Most people will know her as Fleur in THE FORSYTE SAGA TV series for which she won the first of her three Emmy Awards. Susan’s most recent major role in a series was as Molly MacDonald, Lady of Glenbogle in MONARCH OF THE GLEN, which ran from 2000-2005.

Now 80 and retired from acting, Susan was thirty when she discovered she had dyslexia, which was the subject of her memoir ‘Susan’s Story’. She has been a prominent spokesperson for dyslexia ever since and was awarded an OBE by the Queen for her work. Along with my signed sketch, Susan also included a photo of herself with a very complimentary note about the drawing, so I’m extra pleased she liked it.