A former Holy Trinity CofE School art student has been given the chance to have one of his paintings displayed in the House of Commons.
James Rigby, 18, and other Holy Trinity A-Level art students had some of their artwork on display at The Hawth at the end of last term and Crawley MP Henry Smith went to see the exhibition.
He was so impressed with one of James’ paintings – illustrating a familiar London scene – that he invited James to the House of Commons to have his work shown there.
In a letter to James, Mr Smith said: “I was extremely impressed by your portrayal of the Elizabeth Tower and Portcullis House overlooking the River Thames and, being keen to show off Crawley’s talent whenever possible, I wondered whether you would like to exhibit your piece in the Houses of Parliament.”
Speaking to the Observer, Henry said: “I saw he’d painted a view of the Houses of Parliament and have seen it myself.
“It’s impressive painting and then I had the idea that it would be nice to have it displayed in the building which it features.
“I’ve written to the Speaker of the House of Commons as it would be nice to have it displayed in the Speakers’ House and get James up here for a photograph and to meet the Speaker.
“It’s just the logistics of where it will be displayed and when and I’m looking forward to achieving it.”
James – who is a talented drummer – took his A-levels earlier this year and has earned a place at the Brighton Institute of Modern Music.
He said the painting was called October Skies in London and added: “I’m really surprised but mainly glad that other people appreciate the painting. When I heard it was to be put up in the Houses of Parliament I thought it was pretty amazing.”
James said he gets his inspiration from legendary artists Monet and Turner – and the emotion of the latter certainly showed through in the painting.
Painting is not his only talent and, until recently, James played drums in a group called Tail End Charlies, who parted ways when the members headed off to university.
He added: “Art is mainly something I do as a hobby. I’ve done artwork for band albums for my friends or my own bands.
“I like the work of different artists where there is a lot of colour and feeling, especially when it comes to water and all that.”
When James received his letter from Henry Smith, he took it into his old school to share the news with his former teachers.
He said: “Mr Beer was my art teacher and I took it to show him and he was pretty thrilled!”
Holy Trinity head teacher Paul Kennedy said: “We’re absolutely thrilled for him. He’s a charming young man and he deserves every success.
“I was a bit surprised (to get the letter) as it’s not often you get a letter like that from the MP.
“All the paintings went up in the Hawth and Henry Smith obviously went down to see it.
“It looks like he’s taken a bit of a liking to one of James’ paintings and would like it in the House of Commons.
“It’s a wonderful surprise and thoroughly deserved. The head of art Marc Beer is equally pleased.”