Man arrested following attack on Thomas Gainsborough painting Blog Art Law & More

Man arrested following attack on Thomas Gainsborough painting Blog Art Law & More

"The painting was removed from display and examined by the Gallery's conservators".

A man has been charged with criminal damage after a painting in Britain's National Gallery was slashed in front of shocked visitors. The Museum said a visitor had allegedly attacked the painting in room 34 of the east wing with a sharp instrument at about 14:15 GMT on Saturday.

A Reddit user who was apparently at the National Gallery at the time of the incident (around 2:15pm) related the sequence of events in a post.

"The Morning Walk", a 1785 painting by Thomas Gainsborough, suffered two long scratches that penetrated the paint layers after the alleged attack.

He was remanded to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Monday. "An older man, surrounded by about 6-8 staff, was quickly taken past us".

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It's not clear what motivated the attack on Gainsborough's 1785 work Mr and Mrs William Hallett, more commonly known as The Morning Walk.

Mark Bills, the director of the museum Gainsborough's House, described the incident as "quite shocking" in an interview with The Guardian.

The East Wing had to be evacuated while investigations took place, and did not open for two hours.

The painting shows William Hallett and Elizabeth Stephen, a wealthy couple both aged 21, strolling through a woodland landscape.

Thomas Gainsborough was one of the leading portrait painters in England in the 18th century - and a founding member of the Royal Academy. James Bond fans might recognise the work from its cameo appearance in the 2012 film "Skyfall". "When you think of the elegant portraits of the Georgian period, that's the one that comes to mind". The painting can be seen behind James Bond and Q during their meeting in the National Gallery.