Life of Brian wins top prize at Buckingham Art for All exhibition

Life of Brian, by Zoe Day
Life of Brian, by Zoe Day

A man from Essex who was prepared to spend five hours on public transport to model for a painting at Stowe Castle has helped a Buckingham artist win a competition.

Life of Brian, by Zoe Day, won Best in Show in this year’s Buckingham Art for All (BAFA) competition, which was held during an exhibition in the community centre.

Brian Paget, who lives in Pinner, in Essex, had picked up a Buckingham Art School leaflet in London and asked Mrs Day if he could sit for her.

Although he was told it ‘wouldn’t be worth his while’ as the pay of £7.50 per hour wouldn’t even cover his travel expenses, he still insisted he wanted to come and sent Mrs Day a photograph of himself with a handwritten letter and references.

Mrs Day told the Advertiser and Review: “He arrived promptly for the sittings, having taken five hours on public transport to get all the way to our studios.

“When he arrived, his appearance was that of a tramp with weathered skin, missing teeth and unwashed hair and clothes. He was wonderful to paint.”

She added Mr Paget modelled for five consecutive weeks and didn’t have a telephone number so all correspondence was through the post.

“Each Friday following the sitting, I would receive a beautifully written letter thanking me for the experience,” she said.

“He didn’t reveal much about himself over the sittings and I quite enjoyed the mystery of it all.

“Was he a lord, a vagrant or both? I included the electronic cigarette in his jacket pocket as I felt this gave a small clue to the man’s life.”

Last year, Mrs Day was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Portrait Painters annual exhibition.

See Life of Brian and work from other BAFA winners on show at Student Keys on Bridge Street, in Buckingham.