The artist behind a Brexit-themed portrait of Theresa May has said that the image came to her in a dream.
The painting, by Lyme Regis-based artist Maxime Xavier, shows the Prime Minister astride a roaring lion leaping through the EU stars, as she contemplates the pen used to sign Article 50.
The canvas has divided opinion on social media after being shared by the Reverend Richard Coles, who mistakenly said it had been spotted in a charity shop.
It is actually on sale for £6,500 at the Originals Gallery in Poole, Dorset.
“All my paintings normally start off as dreams, and I literally do wake up in the morning with an image in my head from a dream that I’ve had,” Ms Xavier told talkRADIO’s Dan Wootton this afternoon.
“When Brexit was happening, and when the actual paper was being signed, I just saw May on the back of a lion jumping from Europe back to England and when I woke up I thought to myself, gosh, I have to paint that!”
'The pen is a dagger'
Although Ms Xavier voted to leave the EU, she said people were free to interpret the painting’s message.
"I'm just putting forward my side, and I hope never to offend anyone," she said.
The painting focuses on the power of the Prime Minister’s pen, and is named after a line from Shakespeare where Macbeth asks, “Is this a dagger which I see before me”.
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“The pen is a dagger, because it could do good or it could do bad,” Ms Xavier said.
“It could cut you a lovely piece of birthday cake or it could kill someone.
“It’s such a powerful thing she’s got in her hands there because the signing was doing so many different things to so many people.
"Some people are going to benefit from it, but it’s going to wreck other people’s lives.”
Maxime Xavier's portrait of the Queen and her younger self. Image: Maxime Xavier
Ms Xavier is well-known locally for her portraits of famous figures, from mathematician Alan Turing to the contestants on BBC’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’.
One portrait shows a young Queen, clad only in a Union Jack, gazing into an older version of herself in a mirror.
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Ms Xavier said painting helps her to express herself in spite of her dyslexia, and she taught herself by copying masterpieces in the National Gallery.
She said she wouldn’t rule out donating the piece to the nation, although at the moment she still hopes to find a buyer for it as she has “a very hungry dog to feed.”
Words: Cormac Connelly-Smith