Leeds mayor in underpants painting is for charity

Artist Sean Durkin (left) with Lord Mayor of Leeds Coun Gerry Harper and the painting.  Picture Tony Johnson

Artist Sean Durkin (left) with Lord Mayor of Leeds Coun Gerry Harper and the painting. Picture Tony Johnson

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A PAINTING in the style of LS Lowry featuring Lord Mayor of Leeds Coun Gerry Harper in his underpants is set to cause quite a stir for a charity fundraiser.

Artist Sean Durkin completed the painting in a cheeky nod to his father John’s notorious at theft.

John Durkin hit the headlines in 1972 when he stole a Lowry painting from the old Art Gallery in Middlesbrough.

After taking the picture, he demanded the mayor raffle off his underpants to aid research into cancer in order to secure its safe return.

Successful artist Sean, 53, is working with Cancer Research UK and hopes to get all of England’s lord mayors on board with the project and complete 23 paintings signed by each one

The full collection will go on public display before being auctioned in support of Cancer Research UK.

At first glance the painting looks like a Lowry, however, it features a small figure of the Lord Mayor in his underpants and those with a keen eye will also spot clues and references to Leeds and Coun Harper.

References include Leeds Town Hall, civic hall, Kirkstall Viaduct, and Coun Harper’s previous workplaces of Kirkgate Market, Burtons and Archbold Storage.

Sean Durkin said: “ I don’t copy Lowry’s, I’m just finishing off the paintings he never got around to doing himself.”

Coun Harper said: “I am very impressed by the painting Sean has done for me to sign, which represents the story of my life. It really is wonderful and I hope he is able to use it raise a significant amount for Cancer Research UK.”

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