David Attenborough unveils St John’s Wood plaque

Blue plaque in honour of painter Michael Noakes and writer Vivien Noakes

Environmentalist Sir David Attenborough unveiled a blue plaque to his long-standing friends painter Michael Noakes and writer Vivien Noakes in St John’s Wood on Saturday.

Sir David was accompanied by Mr Noakes in Hamilton Terrace at the house where the painter and his wife lived for 33 years.

One of the UK’s leading portrait painters, Mr Noakes is a past president of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters and a former chairman of the Contemporary Portrait Society.

He has worked on a wide range of subjects during his career including members of the Royal Family, the Pope, Bill Clinton and Margaret Thatcher.

Mrs Noakes, who was best-known as the biographer of Edward Lear, was a governor at Quintin Kynaston School. She died in February this year after a short battle with cancer.

The couple also combined to create The Daily Life of the Queen: An Artist’s Diary in 2000.

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Guests heard how a mutual love of Lear’s watercolours of birds led to Sir David meeting Mrs Noakes three decades ago which turned into a longstanding friendship.