Prime Minister donates painting to charity

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with the painting ‘Richmond Castle’ by artist Alice Boggs-Rolfe
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is pictured with the oil painting of Richmond Castle by Alice Boggis-Rolfe at the 2023 Spot on the Wall exhibition at The Station Gallery, Richmond.   Picture by Dominic Lipinski / Parsons Media

A painting donated by the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will go under the hammer next month to raise funds for the London borough of Richmond’s popular community arts venue – The Station. The painting of Richmond Castle will be included in Elstob Auctioneers’ Fine Art & Antiques Sale on June 17.

Depicting the town’s iconic castle high above the River Swale, the oil painting is the work of the award-winning contemporary landscape painter Alice Boggis-Rolfe. It carries an estimate of £1,800-£2,200 and the auction house is hoping that the painting will attract a lot of local and national interest.

The painting was originally given to the Richmond MP by Broadcaster Sky to mark the Sky Arts channel becoming free-to-view. With Sky’s blessing, the Prime Minister decided to donate the painting to The Station, which is housed in the town’s former Victorian Railway Station and incorporates a three-screen cinema, gallery space, café bar and retail outlets.

The work was displayed earlier this year in The Station Gallery’s Spot on the Wall Exhibition – the largest open art exhibition in Richmond.

“I thought it most appropriate that The Station – a centre for the arts in Richmond – should benefit from Sky’s generosity and people in Richmond should have the chance to see the work too,” said Mr Sunak. “The Station recently celebrated its 15th anniversary. It is looked after by a charity which does such an excellent job of running the centre and I hope there will be keen interest in this beautiful work by one of the UK’s leading artists.”

Chris Brown, General Manager of the Richmondshire Building Preservation Trust, the registered charity that owns and operates The Station, explained that the work will now be sold by auction for the benefit of The Station and the Trust. “We are extremely grateful to Rishi Sunak for donating such a magnificent piece of artwork. We are hoping that people who love the town and wish to support and safeguard its vibrant community assets will take part in the auction, wherever they are in the country.

“Elstob Auctioneers are kindly waiving all fees associated with the sale so 100% of the proceeds will go straight back into The Station and supporting other at-risk buildings in Richmondshire,” he said.

The piece includes a signed title card from the Prime Minister, from his visit to The Station on December 17, 2022.

Commissioned by Sky to produce the painting, Alice Boggis-Rolfe said: “I am delighted and honoured that Rishi Sunak has donated my painting to The Station in Richmond and look forward to the auction. It was a very special place to paint, I was instantly captivated by the light on the castle and the deep sense of history.”

Rohan McCulloch, Paintings and Sculptures Specialist at Elstob Auctioneers, said: “This is a rare opportunity to acquire a fabulous piece of art by one of the UK’s up-and-coming artists at the same time as supporting a great cause. Alice Boggis-Rolfe regularly sells out at exhibitions and has collected several prestigious art awards, including the Winsor & Newton First Prize for a Young Artist and The William Sloane Medal.