'Norfolk artist's screwdriver painting for sale for £1.5m

Johno Cornish with his painting of Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square by Johno Cornish carries a price tag of £1.5m. The painting is up for sale at Harrods of Hingham art gallery in Church Street. - Credit: Harrods of Hingham

It's a big picture, with an even bigger price.

With wealthy art lovers prepared to splash out tens of millions for a single painting Johno Cornish is testing the market with a mega price tag of £1.5m for his rendering of Trafalgar Square.

The figure is more than a thousand times what his paintings usually sell for,  in a world where art is traded for staggering sums.

Mr Cornish, 57, who is well known for using a screwdriver - and most recently a carrot - to create his scenes said achieving the sum would pay for his dream of of living by the sea.

Scott and Emily Field

Scott and Emily Field, a firefighter and a geography teacher, who despite both working full time have launched Harrods of Hingham giving a new lease of life to a former grocery store. - Credit: Harrods of Hingham

And while he initially thought it was a "crazy" amount, he came round to the idea, declaring "Why not?", as fine art becomes an attractive investment for those who are in it for the long haul.

He was egged on by Scott Field, who with his wife Emily has launched a new community arts' hub, Harrods of Hingham, giving the painting pride of place - and hoping to attract the eye of someone with money.


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Mr Cornish, who lives in Attleborough, said Trafalgar Square was his largest work.

Using his tried and tested screwdriver technique it is distinctly London with red buses, Big Ben, black cabs and Landseer's famous bronze lions.

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"I probably started painting it in around 2018," he said.

"It has just been hanging in my studio. I can't afford to have everything framed but I thought there would be a place for it.

"Every painting of mine has got a piece of me in there and every painting tells a story."

Celebration by Johno Cornish

This image of celebration by Johno Cornish is among works on show at a special exhibition at Harrods of Hingham which opened on Saturday December 5. - Credit: Harrods of Hingham

Materials used include acrylics, and household gloss and emulsion, all worked on the surface by a screwdriver instead of a paintbrush.

He added it was a serious price tag and that a dealer in London had not batted an eyelid.

"Art has never sold so well," he said.

Gallery director Mr Field said: "It's massive.

"It's not something you would see on a wall in a house unless it was a very very big one.

"I could see it being picked up by a very rich person in London.

"I just said to him 'make that  your home by the sea. Do not sell it for less, just stick with it. If it sells, brilliant you have your dream.

"If it doesn't, it doesn't matter'.

"Whoever buys it will have bagged themselves an investment.

"Banksy sold his last one for £400m and he started from nowhere.

"Johno is unique. There is no-one else that could do what he is doing with so much confidence and vigour.

"There is only one of him and that's a sound investment.

"His work is only going to go one way."

Johno Cornish painting

This painting by Johno Cornish is among more than 20 on display at Harrods of Hingham. The new community venue also hosts a shop where people can buy original and unique pieces, as well as take part in classes. - Credit: Harrods of Hingham

Harrods of Hingham is a community arts hub that has sprung up in a former village shop of the same name that had been there since 1898.

As well as gallery space it offers a shop and workshops, and could yet host a post office.

Emily Field said: "The building spoke to me. It has to be something beautiful again for everyone to enjoy."

The venue in Church Street is open every day except Tuesday and Wednesday depending on the number of volunteers.

Johno Cornish Trafalgar Square

Johno Cornish with his painting Trafalgar Square which is up for sale at Harrods of Hingham for £1.5m. - Credit: Harrods of Hingham

To find out more about Harrods of Hingham visit the website here.


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