Billy's not all there

Museum loses half a portrait

A Glasgow museum has lost half its portrait of Billy Connolly.

The 8ft square picture comprised two panels: one of the comic in flares and platform shoes pointing to his banjo, which was shown in the second panel.

But for over a decade only the first panel of the portrait has been on display in The People’s Palace, along with the ‘banana boots’ Connolly famously wore on stage.

Now curators have told artist John Byrne, who painted the portrait in the mid-Seventies, that the second panel has been lost.

He told Sunday Times Scotland: “I’m a bit upset about it because the second panel was important to the original design. It was given to the museum in good faith and I entrusted it to them. I would have hoped they would have treasured it.”

Glasgow city council say they do have the panel in storage… somewhere.

A spokesman told the paper: “ “The painting showing the banjo was removed with other items from the museum’s collection, to storage.

“The items were removed to several store sites, some high density, not allowing easy access. However, we believe that as we progress the inventory of the collections systematically we will make important items like this accessible again.”

Byrne, who also wrote the Eighties comedy Tutti Frutti and  is married to actress Tilda Swinton, added: “Maybe I should demand the other half back.


Published: 27 Feb 2005

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