Animal rights activists attack portrait of King

Animal rights activists have attacked a portrait of King Charles in a London art gallery.

Two protesters stuck posters on the pane of glass that covered the painting.

The painting itself remained intact, the Philip Mould Gallery said, and no arrests were made.

Unveiled last month, Jonathan Yeo’s striking red artwork was the first official painting of the king since his coronation.

The group Animal Rising said its supporters had stuck posters to the glass to protect the painting. The action was “lighthearted”, they said.

They covered the royal portrait with a picture of Wallace, a character from the Wallace & Gromit cartoons.

It was a protest message criticising the animal welfare standards of the RSPCA’s Assured Farm status, of which King Charles was patron.

“With King Charles being such a huge fan of Wallace & Gromit, we couldn’t think of a better way to get his attention,” said Daniel Juniper of the campaign group.

The gallery, which is showing the painting to the public for free, said the incident was over quickly and no damage was done to the artwork.

The Metropolitan Police said it had not been called, but based on footage on social media, officers had visited the gallery to investigate.

“We have spoken with staff on site. They have confirmed that neither the painting nor the glass covering it were damaged,” the Met said in a statement.

“The protesters were asked by staff to leave the premises after the incident, which they did.

“The gallery did not wish to report a crime and therefore no further police action is planned.”

The painting attracted widespread public attention when the King unveiled it at Buckingham Palace last month.

Painter Jonathan Yeo had inserted the image of a butterfly to symbolize metamorphosis and rebirth, as well as the king’s support for environmental issues.

The RSPCA said it was “shocked by this vandalism” which distracted them from their work for the welfare of animals.

“We remain convinced that our RSPCA Assured programme is the best way to help farm animals now, while fighting to change their lives in the future,” a spokeswoman said.