Maria Van Buren, a court artist since the late 1980s has been fired from her post following a string of smudgy, indistinct paintings which ‘fail to accurately capture the atmosphere and events at Lincoln Crown Court’.
In a passionate outburst Ms Van Buren, 57, has defended her right to explore new creative avenues. ‘Nobody said anything when I started putting little Munch scream-heads into the jury box, or even the year when I decided to blur the accuseds’ faces in my fauvist-pointillist style.’
Johnathan Wilder, a spokesman for Her Majesty’s Court Service said: ‘It is with great regret that we have had to lose the services of Maria Van Buren, but it was becoming increasingly obvious that her shouts of ‘hold it! don’t move’ were interrupting the business of the court. We have concluded that, however delightful her work may be on its own merit, it fails to live up to the exacting standards required by the Crown Court. Plus it looks like a five-year-old has done it.’
The Ministry of Justice has issued a statement saying it is considering installing automatic daguerrotypes in courtrooms, prompting outrage from the community of courtroom artists who see this new technology as a threat to their way of life.
It is the second time that Van Buren has been sacked. She previously did the artist’s impression of wanted criminals for the Metropolitan Police, with the result that officers were often searching for a man in a bowler hat with an apple for a head. ‘Then she went through a Picasso phase, and all the suspects had three eyes and their heads were completely distorted,’ said a police spokesman. ‘If that wasn’t bad enough, she expected a couple of million for each of her works. I mean, the paintings were a load of rubbish and then she charges an arm and a leg. Or it might have been two legs and an eye, it was very hard to tell.’