'Morning Walk' attacked

March 20 2017

Image of 'Morning Walk' attacked

Picture: National Gallery

Thomas Gainsborough's famous full-length painting, 'The Morning Walk', has been attacked at the National Gallery by someone with a screwdriver. The painting has been taken off display. The full extent of the damage has not yet been revealed, but from what I gather it's more like a series of scratches than slashes. 

The Daily Mail headline ran:

Priceless Gainsborough painting that featured in Bond film Skyfall is SLASHED [...]

'featured' is perhaps stretching it a little; Bond briefly had his back to the painting in a scene with Q.

Bag searches have been in operation at the NG for some time now. We don't yet know how large the screwdriver was, but of course such searches can only ever be a minor deterrence. Clothing and pockets are never searched. Perhaps it's time for the NG to start following the example of the Louvre, where all bags (and indeed people) are put through airport-style scanners and detectors. Such a move would certainly be a shame, and a last resort. But there is a pattern now of people targeting paintings at the National Gallery. 

Update - the Sun has a photo of the damage. Terrible. At least it wasn't on the dog's head or the heads of the sitters, nor did it go wholly through the canvas. With careful conservation it'll effectively disappear. But there will be much original paint loss. What an idiot.

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