Belfast Telegraph

Trump Cottage picture of Donald's ancestral home fails to find buyer

By Ivan Little

Art lovers in Northern Ireland have given Donald Trump the brush-off.

That's because a painting with a link to the controversial president-elect of the United States has drawn a blank at an auction in Belfast.

And that's despite the fact that it could have been snapped up for as little as £100.

The painting, called Trump Cottage, depicts the multi-billionaire's humble ancestral home in Scotland.

It was painted by an Ulster artist who keeps his identity secret and who signs his works, which are mostly of the north coast, only as Kenlito.

The house in the painting was where Trump's mother Mary Anne MacLeod was raised on the remote Scottish island of Lewis, where her father was postmaster of the village of Tong.

Trump's mother arrived penniless in the States as a teenager in 1930 and the story goes that she was so poor that she couldn't afford shoes for the journey.

But her life changed dramatically in the US after she met Trump's wealthy property developer father Fred, whom she married in 1936.

Mrs Trump died aged 88 in 2000 and eight years later her son paid a flying visit to her former home on Lewis.

He'd been on his way to Aberdeen to give evidence at a public inquiry into his plans to build a golf course in Scotland.

On Lewis, Mr Trump, who was accompanied by a large number of journalists and TV crews, denied that his visit was a cheap publicity stunt.

But he spent just 97 seconds inside his mother's old home.

The painting of the house was among hundreds of works up for grabs by online bidders in the Ross's auction on Tuesday evening.

Experts from the firm had estimated that the Kenlito painting would fetch between £100 and £200 in the auction.

But although sales were generally brisk, there were no bids for Trump Cottage, a 10"x 12" acrylic on board.

One observer of the art scene said: "If anyone thought that Mr Trump might be interested in making a bid they were totally wrong, even though £100 would have been chicken feed for him.

"And besides, the length of his visit to the house in 2008 showed that the place didn't really mean that much to him."

Trump's relatives still live in the house where his mother was raised, but after he beat Hillary Clinton to the White House, they refused to comment on his election.

They also declined invitations from journalists to pass on their congratulations to their famous relation.

Meanwhile, a signed copy of a poem by Bill Clinton's favourite poet, Seamus Heaney, did sell at Ross's auction.

A bidder paid £2,900 for the copy of Digging.

A painting called Lisa by the late Belfast artist Dan O'Neill fetched £8,200 while A Bank of Wild Flowers by another late artist from the city, Andrew Nicholl, went for £6,000.

A self portrait by Glengormley-born Basil Blackshaw, who died earlier this year, was sold for £5,000.

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