Prime Minister Boris Johnson has snapped up a painting by a Berkhamsted artist that shows him and his young family enjoying a few moments of calm in the gardens of his official country retreat at Chequers.
He couldn’t resist buying the picture after artist Mary Casserley had a card printed of it that she posted to him at No 10 Downing Street.
The painting portrays Boris in his trademark dark suit walking beside flowerbeds with dog Dilyn while fiancée Carrie and their baby son Wilfred picnic nearby on the lawn at the 16th Century mansion where the Prime Minister went to recuperate from Covid in April last year.
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Entitled ‘Chequers Court’, it is in her vibrant characteristic style reminiscent of 1930s railway posters and travel art and was created during lockdown.
The inspiration for the Prime Minister’s painting came when she began looking further afield for places to paint.
She said: "I like to paint historic buildings and this country pile seemed a good subject. It occurred to me to add some figures for interest, so I painted in Boris, his fiancée Carrie, their baby Wilfred and dog Dilyn having a picnic in the gardens.”
She had a card made once Orbit Press, the local printing company she regularly uses, was once again able to open and popped one in the post to No 10 Downing Street.
“Your painting is terrific,” he said in a hand-written reply, adding: “I don’t suppose it is by any chance for sale?”
She wrote back saying “I was delighted he liked the picture and that I would be pleased to sell it to him”, she said.
Mary’s distinctive views of local scenes in and around Berkhamsted and the nearby Chilterns are popular and sell well, but lockdown restrictions meant that she had to pursue her painting projects and commissions from a shared family table instead of her studio in the top floor of her mother’s home.
Mary, who is a member of Berkhamsted Art Society and has a day job in the art department at Berkhamsted School, added: “I managed well despite the background noises from family members. I completed half a dozen paintings from my makeshift studio."