35 It was likely a Trinity College first; a newly commissioned portrait absent at its own unveiling. Such were the unusual circumstances surrounding the unveiling at the Founders and Benefactors Dinner in October of a superb portrait of Bill Cowan (TC 1963) – alumnus, past Board chairman and long-standing supporter of Trinity – by the acclaimed artist Nicholas Harding. When guest speaker and Director of the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) in Canberra, Angus Trumble (TC 1980), made his way to the lectern to share his characteristic wit and erudite musings on both the subject and genre, the portrait was hanging in his workplace in Canberra, being one of a select group of works in the exhibition, Nicholas Harding: 28 Portraits. Standing at the lectern, Mr Trumble nevertheless showered high praise on the (missing) portrait, as well as the artist. ‘It is one of the stars of the NPG exhibition, as the portrait is one of Nicholas Harding’s finest,’ he said. Harding’s rich application of paint with a palette knife gives his paintings a dynamism and energy, BILL COWAN PORTRAIT UNVEILED, BUT MISSING BY BENJAMIN THOMAS and this is particularly evident in his Cowan portrait. Those who know Bill will immediately see how the portrait accurately portrays his seemingly boundless enthusiasm and excitement – and Trinity is often the beneficiary of that energy. Addressing the guests at the black- tie dinner, Mr Cowan said when he visited the work in Canberra he observed with some amusement that the gallery had described it as both ‘zesty’ and ‘benign’. ‘I can assure you, these two words – zesty and benign – have never been used in relation to me personally,’ he said. Cowan’s portrait will be returned to the College at the end of the year and hung in the Dining Hall. He observed with some amusement that the gallery had described [his portrait] as both ‘zesty’ and ‘benign’. Installation view of Nicholas Harding: 28 Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, 2 September - 26 November 2017.