Missing Person Found At National Gallery – Taking A Screwdriver To A Masterpiece

By Holly Brockwell on at

Northampton missing person Keith Gregory has been found in London after going missing in November – in the east wing of the National Portrait Gallery, slashing a famous Gainsborough painting with a screwdriver.

Gregory was arrested on Saturday for damaging the masterpiece, known as The Morning Walk, and he's since been charged with criminal damage.

Police had repeatedly appealed for information regarding Mr Gregory's disappearance, and a local newspaper reported that he had not taken his medication with him. He was believed to be in London after being spotted on CCTV at Euston on the day he vanished, but it's unclear what happened to him in the intervening months. He turned 63 earlier this month, and is described by the Metropolitan Police as "of no fixed abode."

A Reddit post by a Londoner who witnessed Gregory's arrest gave more details of the incident:

Curious unreported incident the National Gallery yesterday: Personally saw a man who'd damaged a "well known" painting with a screwdriver, escorted away by staff. from london

Another user added more information:

The painting, created in 1785, has hung in the gallery since the year Gregory was born. It was purchased from Lord Rothschild in 1954 for £30,000, which works out to around £770,000 in modern money.

Officially titled 'Mr and Mrs William Hallett' and seen over Daniel Craig's shoulder in Skyfall, the portrait is not irreparably damaged – a spokesperson said "The damage is limited to two long scratches which have penetrated the paint layers, but not the supporting canvas." It's been taken away to be restored.

Gregory will appear at Westminster Magistrates Court today, and will hopefully be getting the help he needs.