Protester Arrested After Defacing Constable Painting At London’s National Gallery

John Constable

A man has been arrested after supergluing a photograph to an important painting by John Constable, in London’s National Gallery. The protester,claiming to be a supporter of Fathers4Justice, adhered the photograph of a child to the 1821 masterpiece, ‘The Hay Wain’, at the museum in Trafalgar Square. He is now in custody, a Scotland Yard spokesperson stated.

The attack caused minimal damage to the painting, which is now is back on display in the gallery. A representative from the National Gallery said: “Conservation staff were on the scene very rapidly and the painting was removed for treatment”.The spokeswoman praised “the prompt action and quick thinking” of staff who intervened before any more lasting damage could be done.

 A painting of the Queen was defaced with spray paint, by a disenfranchised Fathers4Justice supporter two weeks ago. A 41-year-old man named as Tim Haries, an electrician from South Yorkshire, was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage after being detained by security guards at the abbey.

The Campaign group Fathers 4 Justice said they thought a member could have been responsible for the attack, but the action was not official or sanctioned by the group. Fathers4Justice spokesman Jolly Stanesby said; the suspect was a “desperate dad” wanting to draw attention to the issue of shared parenting.

Constable’s painting The Hay Wain is based on a site in Suffolk, near Flatford on the River Stour. The hay wain, a type of horse-drawn cart, stands in the water in the foreground. Across the meadow in the distance on the right, is a group of haymakers at work. The cottage shown on the left was rented by a farmer called Willy Lott and stands behind Flatford Mill. Today, the cottage and river path are still much as they were in Constable’s time.

The painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1821, the year it was painted, but failed to find a buyer. Yet when exhibited in France, with other paintings by Constable, the artist was awarded a Gold Medal by Charles X.

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