Following their attempt to glue themselves to the frame of a Vincent van Gogh painting in a London gallery, two members of Just Stop Oil were found guilty of criminal damage.
Emily Brocklebank, 24, and Louis McKechnie, 22, caused just under £2,000 of damage at the Courtauld Gallery when they attached themselves to the 1889 work Peach Trees in Blossom, their trial heard on Tuesday.
The 18th-century frame, which is older than the painting itself, had been permanently damaged, District Judge Neeta Minhas told Westminster magistrates court.
“It is not in a state where it can return to its original state,” she added as she delivered her verdict. “The painting has significant, historical and art value and I consider the damage to be substantial. It is not minor, insignificant, temporary or trivial.”
A lawyer for the activists, who are part of a group waging disruptive protests until the government agrees to halt all new oil and gas projects, had asked a curator for the gallery if the action may have increased the value of the painting.
“Say the institute was to sell it on in 20 to 30 years, is it possible its value would now increase?” Francesca Cociani, defending, asked Karen Serres, a curator at the gallery.
Serres, who was the sole witness in the trial, replied: “Absolutely not,” adding that a work so famous as one by Van Gogh would not increase in value as a result.
Such works, which were owned by a trust which held items displayed at the gallery, could also not be sold and were intended for public display, she added.
Read More: The Guardian
Photo by just stop oil