Gift fit for a Duchess – a tin of pilchards
The Duchess of Cornwall was given an unusual gift yesterday after viewing an exhibition of Cornish-themed artwork – a tin of pilchards.
Camilla's special present came as she visited the former London home of William Waldorf Astor, now owned by a charitable trust, where the paintings were on display.
Viscount Astor was once America's richest man and his residence – Two Temple Place, a neo-gothic mansion on the Victoria Embankment – was described by the Duchess as "just fantastic".
Camilla toured the Amongst Heroes: The Artist In Working Cornwall exhibition, which depicts Cornish men and women hard at labour.
Among the paintings were 15 from the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro, which has the Duchess as its patron.
The display is the most significant grouping of Cornish artwork to be staged outside Cornwall in recent decades.
The exhibition is associated with another of the Duchess's patronages, the Public Catalogue Foundation, as it features a number of paintings from the its Cornish collection.
Guided by the curator Roo Gunzi, Camilla appeared to enjoy the exhibition and also met and thanked volunteers whose efforts allow the house to be open to the public.
The Duchess also saw Two Temple Place's education programme in action, which will welcome around 1,600 primary school children to the gallery during the course of the exhibition. She met pupils from Loughborough Primary School who were taking part in a storytelling session, where the youngsters created a tale around the Stanhope Forbes painting A Fish Sale On A Cornish Beach, painted in 1885. Asked what season the Duchess thought the painting portrays, she suggested it looked like autumn, and that the scene "looks a bit chilly and damp".