Jeremy Corbyn victory could see John Constable replaced by ‘splatter’ painting in 10 Downing Street

John Constable's informal portrait of his niece Jane Anne Inglis (née Mason) (born c.1792). Picture:

John Constable's informal portrait of his niece Jane Anne Inglis (née Mason) (born c.1792). Picture: © CROWN COPYRIGHT, GOVERNMENT ART COLLECTION - Credit: Archant

The general election could see a portrait by one of Suffolk’s most famous artists ousted from its home in the corridors of power by a charity shop-bought “splatter” painting.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has told of his artistic plans for Number 10 Downing Street. Picture: ST

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has told of his artistic plans for Number 10 Downing Street. Picture: STEFAN ROUSSEAU/PA WIRE - Credit: PA

Victory for Jeremy Corbyn would bring a new approach to art at 10 Downing Street, the Labour leader has said, casting uncertainty over the future of the many state-owned masterpieces currently adorning its walls - including one by John Constable.

The informal portrait by Constable of his niece Jane Mason was added to the Government Art Collection in 1994, joining others by leading artists such as Lucian Freud, Barbara Hepworth and Hendrick Danckerts.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Mr Corbyn said he would not be relying on the current collection if he achieved victory on Thursday.

Instead, he has spoken of his appreciation for the work of a 63-year-old amateur artists nicknamed Bosh.

Self Portrait by John Constable c1799-1804. Picture: NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY

Self Portrait by John Constable c1799-1804. Picture: NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY - Credit: National Portrait Gallery


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Mr Corbyn is said to have been a fan of Bosh, whose real name is Roy Appleton, ever since he bought one of his abstract paintings for £80 from a charity shop stall at an Islington art festival.

If Labour wins the election, which is no longer seen as the impossible task it once was, Mr Corbyn said he would approach the Peter Bedford Housing Association - the charity for disadvantaged people that sold him Bosh’s Yellow Red Orange painting.

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“I’d invite them to sell me something to put up [in Downing Street],” he said.

Mr Appleton, who was referred by mental health services to the charity six years ago, is said to have “come a long way” since.

Seeing his paintings hanging at 10 Downing Street would be “lovely news”, he said.

Appleton likes to creates a “weatherbeaten” effect to his canvases by putting them outside when it is raining.

His work would be a marked departure from the oil paintings that normally hang in Downing Street, which tend to have been taken from the 13,500-strong state-owned collection,

Works of art from the Government Art Collection (GAC) are displayed in UK Government buildings in nearly every capital city, making it the most dispersed collection of British art in the world.

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