Hampstead schoolboy, 12, paints Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg free of charge amid £10,000 MPs portraits scandal

13:00 21 February 2014

Marina and Andrew Smith, 12, with a copy of the portrait Andrew painted of Nick Clegg MP. Picture: Polly Hancock

Marina and Andrew Smith, 12, with a copy of the portrait Andrew painted of Nick Clegg MP. Picture: Polly Hancock


A 12-year-old boy has proved to deputy prime minister Nick Clegg that he doesn’t need to sit for a £10,000 portrait – paid for by the taxpayer – by knocking up a painting in just four hours.

Nick Clegg, as drawn by 12-year-old Andrew Smith of The Hall schoolNick Clegg, as drawn by 12-year-old Andrew Smith of The Hall school

Andrew Smith, a pupil at Hampstead’s Hall School, presented the portrait of Mr Clegg to the Lib-Dem leader free of charge on the MP’s weekly Call Clegg slot on LBC radio, a London station.

The Sheffield Hallam MP was so impressed that he even took the portrait home with him after the show and tweeted a photo of it to his 153,000 followers.

“I was happy all my hard work paid off,” said Andrew, who lives off Elsworthy Road in Primrose Hill. “I had to miss some of my homework to do it though. It took about four hours in total.”

It was revealed earlier this month that the deputy prime minister agreed to sit for a £10,000 portrait paid for by the taxpayer, one of more than £250,000 worth of paintings of MPs commissioned by the House of Commons.

Andrew’s painting shows the Lib Dems leader gesticulating and talking into a microphone in front of the Houses of Parliament at dusk. It was chosen by a LBC reporter from about 15 other portraits of the deputy prime minister painted by pupils as young as six from the private school, for boys aged between four and 13, in Crossfield Road.

Mr Clegg told Andrew it was a “brilliant painting” in the half-hour slot, which is also filmed and streamed online. But he did offer some criticism, saying that he “shaves more than that,” as the schoolboy had given him a five o’clock shadow.

Andrew’s mother Marina Smith, 45, said she felt relief after her son had been on the show as he is quite shy. “He actually said that he’d wanted to ask [Mr Clegg] some questions! It was a fun project and it’s interesting that the school has these opportunities to get them exposed to lots of different things,” said the mother-of-three.

The school put all the paintings of Mr Clegg created by its pupils on its walls, except for Andrew’s as it is still with the deputy prime minister.

Christopher Godwin, headmaster of Hall School, said: “It was an astonishing picture.

“Nick Clegg was taken aback to receive it and you could quite clearly see the astonishment on his face.”

You can watch the programme at:


Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Controversial plans to build a 10-storey “big ugly block” of luxury flats in Hampstead were last night waved through by Camden Council.

A row has broken out over plans to dig out a basement car park and swimmming pool next to Hampstead Heath.

Yesterday, 17:15

A heritage campaigner has told of his devastation after he watched raiders ransack a disused pub that he fought to preserve.

Yesterday, 15:45

A historic red phone box in Highgate Village could soon be a tiny office space, complete with printing, scanning, copying and wifi

Yesterday, 11:00

Camden parents were forced to pay a total of £20,000 in school fines in the last year, new figures have revealed.

Yesterday, 07:08

This year’s Hampstead Christmas Festival has been called off, the Ham&High can reveal.

Wed, 19:00

The vicar believes the flags were taken down on both occasions as part of a targeted ‘homophobic attack’ on his church’s open and inclusive values

Wed, 17:39

Women have been warned to be vigilant when using the Black Path in West Hampstead after a lone female was sexually attacked in broad daylight on Saturday afternoon.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news


Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now