Mort aux espions (Death to spies)

Oil on Masonite

48 cm x 53 cm

A painting inspired by the legend of the Hartlepool Monkey

The catalyst for this painting came with news that the Russians had planted bombs on top of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. You may recall that the Russian secret services’ motto in the 1940’s was, ‘Death to spies’. I decided to use that motto as a connection to the Hartlepool legend but in French, ‘Mort aux espions’. With bizarre stories of espionage in the form of an ill-fated monkey (the Hartlepudlians couldn’t understand the monkey’s thick accent so they hanged him/her as a French spy) it’s easy to condemn our predecessors as ignorant and barbaric. Perhaps the human race is less ignorant, but daily news proves that what is happening to the innocent today is no less brutal than it was in 1814.