Friday, June 21, 2024

King Charles’ first official portrait targeted by animal rights activists

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Animal rights activists have targeted a portrait of the King, appearing to paste over his face with the animated character Wallace.

A speech bubble, reading, “No cheese Gromit. Look at all this cruelty on RSPCA farms,” was also put onto the painting at the Philip Mould gallery in central London.

It was the first official portrait of the King, by artist Jonathan Yeo, since the coronation, which was unveiled at Buckingham Palace last month.

Animal Rising said two of its supporters were responsible for the stunt, saying the artwork was targeted because of the King’s love of the British stop-motion Wallace and Gromit comedy franchise created by Nick Park and his status as Royal Patron of the RSPCA.

Pic: Animal Rising/Jonathan Yeo 2024/Reuters

In a post on the group’s website Daniel Juniper, one of those involved, said they wanted to draw his attention to alleged cruelty reported on RSPCA-assured farms.

“Even though we hope this is amusing to his Majesty, we also call on him to seriously reconsider if he wants to be associated with the awful suffering across farms being endorsed by the RSPCA,” he said.

“Charles has made it clear he is sensitive to the suffering of animals in UK farms; now is the perfect time for him to step up and call on the RSPCA to drop the assured scheme and tell the truth about animal farming.”

A video posted on social media site X shows two protesters approaching the painting before attaching the posters using paint rollers, then walking away.

Pic:Animal Rising
Pic: Animal Rising

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Animal Rising is calling for the King to suspend his support for the RSPCA until the charity drops its ethical food labelling scheme.

Spokesperson Orla Coghlan said: “Just as Feathers McGraw fooled Wallace into a bank heist, the RSPCA has been fooling the British public into thinking their factory farms are – in any way – an acceptable place for animals to live. It’s clear from the scenes across 45 RSPCA-assured farms that there’s no kind way to farm animals.”

A portrait of King Charles by artist Jonathan Yeo.
Pic: Reuters
A portrait of King Charles by artist Jonathan Yeo.
Pic: Reuters

The portrait shows the King wearing the uniform of the Welsh Guards, which he was made regimental colonel of in 1975, and was originally commissioned in 2020 to mark his 50 years as a member of The Draper’s Company in 2022.

He sat for Mr Yeo on four occasions between June 2021 and November 2023 at both Highgrove in Gloucestershire and Clarence House in London.

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Activists throw cake at King Charles’s waxwork

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The renowned portrait artist’s past subjects include Idris Elba, Cara Delevingne, Sir David Attenborough, Nicole Kidman, Malala Yousafzai, and former prime ministers Sirs David Cameron and Tony Blair.

Climate activists smeared the Madame Tussauds waxwork of the King with chocolate cake in October 2022, while artworks including the Mona Lisa in the Louvre have been targeted by protesters.

Activists threw soup at the Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece in January, while members of the Just Stop Oil group used the same tactic on Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers at London’s National Gallery in October 2022.

In the following month, campaigners glued themselves to Goya paintings in Madrid’s Prado museum.

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