Wednesday 21 March 2018

'Unseen' connery painting could go on show

A painting said to depict Sir Sean Connery posing for an art class wearing only a thong could go on public display, relatives of the artist who created the work revealed today.

Robert Webster, known as Rab, painted the actor in 1951 while a student at the Edinburgh College of Art.

Mr Webster died last month at the age of 83 after suffering a cancerous growth in his stomach.

The previously unseen oil painting shows Sir Sean's bare back, with his head turned to one side.

Mr Webster's relatives want to stage an exhibition of around 50 paintings which Mr Webster created between around 1945 and 1967.

Today, Nick Bihel, who is married to Mr Webster's niece Heather, said: "There were a few sketches of Sean Connery which are distributed among the family, so to speak.

"The oil painting was part of a whole load of paintings just stacked on top of each other in a studio he used as a darkroom.

"It's a totally unseen collection. We always knew he had done work of Sean Connery. Sean Connery was a male model for art classes at the college when Rab Webster was there.

"Sean Connery has some sort of thong on in the painting. It's not completely nude. He never sold or exhibited any of his paintings but it is fairly obvious he was a very talented artist."

Mr Webster was a former art teacher at Selkirk High School in the Scottish Borders.

Mr Bihel, who is 59 and lives in Selkirk, said: "He was an exceptional person and the idea for the exhibition is really to get his name out there.

"A lot of people in this area did not know how good an artist he was.

"He was a remarkable man. He took up speaking Gaelic at 70 and did recitals. He lived next door to us for quite a few years.

"He said Connery treated it just as a job and that he didn't say very much. He said he was a very quiet and unassuming man.

"I have no idea how much the painting of Sean Connery would be worth.

"At the moment we are just taking stock of the situation but we would like to put them on display in Selkirk in the near future.

"Some could be sold as there are just too many to keep them all."

Mr Bihel said Mr Webster's paintings also included landscapes of the west coast of Scotland.

Press Association

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