‘It was all for nothing’ – Artist devastated after painting sold for £750 is snatched from Portsmouth Cathedral exhibition

AN ARTIST has told of her anger after a painting sold for £750 was stolen at an exhibition.

Alison Lawley’s painting King of the Woods was plucked from the wall of Portsmouth Cathedral in Old Portsmouth on Monday afternoon.

Artist Alison Lawley's painting King of the Woods was stolen from Portsmouth Cathedral during an art exhibition - after it had been sold for 750. Picture: Alison Lawley

Artist Alison Lawley's painting King of the Woods was stolen from Portsmouth Cathedral during an art exhibition - after it had been sold for 750. Picture: Alison Lawley

Speaking to The News, the artist said: ‘When my painting was stolen I was shocked, upset and angry.

‘My anger was that it had already been purchased by someone who appreciated my work and understood the background to the painting.

‘It saddens me that it will no longer go to a good home and that instead it will be on the wall of someone who only cares about money.

‘It is hard to part with a painting at the best of times especially when you put your heart and soul into it.

Portsmouth Cathedral in The High Street, Old Portsmouth. Picture: Malcolm Wells

Portsmouth Cathedral in The High Street, Old Portsmouth. Picture: Malcolm Wells

‘Now it’s gone I feel that it was all for nothing and i have wasted months of hard work.’

It comes after the Portsmouth and Hampshire exhibition hit the headlines when four acrylic canvas works by Southsea artist Joe Greenwood flustered parishioners with his life paintings of nude women. They were removed from display.

READ MORE: ‘In your face’ nude paintings removed from Portsmouth Cathedral art exhibition after they ‘distressed’ parishioners 

PHAS chairman Paul Buckley has told of his frustration at the second controversy to hit the show – with police on the trail of the art thief.

Mr Buckley said: ‘The theft was discovered (on Tuesday) morning when the exhibition opened and after enquiries were made it was established that the painting was removed on Monday evening probably between 5pm and 5.30pm, when a man was seen leaving the cathedral with the painting under his arm, by a member of the cathedral team.’

The painting had scooped the Southsea Gallery prize.

Irene Strange, PHAS publicity officer, added: 'Someone must have had an eye for this painting, for the money, not for the art.

‘They saw it was expensive and that must have made up their mind.’

A Hampshire police spokeswoman said: ‘We have received a report regarding the theft of a painting from an art exhibit inside Portsmouth Cathedral.

‘It happened between 5pm and 5.30pm on August 6.

‘The painting is reported to be worth an estimated £750.

‘Anyone with information is asked to call 101, quoting 44180298475.’