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Arts club row over Prince Andrew charity auction photograph – UPDATE

April 13, 2022

A black and white photographic portrait of Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, that was included in a charity auction at the Chelsea Arts Club in London has been torn down from a wall by a female member and returned damaged.

One member of the Chelsea Arts Club told the Daily Mail‘s diary editor Richard Eden, ‘It’s caused a dreadful ruckus. It’s a wonderful portrait, but always seemed an odd lot for a charity auction. Lots of us thought that it shouldn’t have been included. It looks like the woman who took it was offended by its inclusion.’

The black-and-white portrait, shot by the celebrity portrait photographer and Chelsea Arts Club member John Stoddart in 2000, shows Prince Andrew wearing a black turtleneck sweater and looking directly at the camera.

Prince Andrew as photographed by John Stoddart in 2000. © John Stoddart/Getty Images

Prince Andrew as photographed by John Stoddart in 2000. © John Stoddart/Popperfoto/Getty Images

It was included in the charity exhibition titled If I Ruled The World and had apparently fetched £210 from the anonymous winning bidder.

Photographer John Stoddart told Amateur Photographer, ‘The [Chelsea Arts] club was very disappointed with what the woman did. She finally returned the photo, damaged. As I’m living in Greece, I’ve not seen it… and I’m not sure if it’s now fit for sale. It was for a good cause, not for me. And, as has been pointed out, there were a number of images of [Vladimir] Putin that she thought were fine!’ 

The portrait row is just the latest indignity suffered by Prince Andrew, who was once an honoured guest at the country’s most rarefied clubs.

Now, in the wake of his multi-million dollar payment to settle a civil sex case in the US, it seems even a photographic image of him is capable of causing outrage.

Photographer John Stoddart. Image: courtesy John Stoddart

Photographer John Stoddart. Image: © Rick Walsh, courtesy John Stoddart

Exclusive club

The exclusive private members Chelsea Arts Club holds an annual charity auction and has been frequented by many famous faces, from Bake Off judge and chef Dame Prue Leith to Hollywood movie star Harrison Ford.

The Chelsea Arts Club was originally founded by a group of artists, including painter James Whistler, in 1890 and operates under a series of rigorous rules, with the use of mobile phones or computers not permitted and photography ‘strictly forbidden’.

To find out more about John Stoddart’s work go to the John Stoddart Photography website.


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