Re the stretched texture - that is a fortuitous accident.
It looks like paint strokes which is accidentally exactly what I was hoping for.
Thanks for the compliment by way. I’ve really enjoyed how this has turned out although I’m now at the stage where all I can see are flaws %|.
While I’m at work, my computer is chugging away at a render with AO at 5 samples and I’ll see how everything looks with that.
If it looks OK I’ll put it to 16 samples and prepare for a long render.
If not I may need to study 3 point lighting in a hurry.
Either way - I’ll probably post in Finished shortly as a commitment to finishing this project. I still have to find the printer, the frame etc. etc. etc.