Sir Ian McKellen creates Shakespearean picture of a bee for charity
Pictures of bees created by artists and celebrities will go under the hammer to raise money for charity.
Shakespearean star Sir Ian McKellen and renowned sculptor Sir Antony Gormley have produced pictures to be sold in aid of bee-keepers in the developing world.
Dame Judi Dench, Sir Kenneth Branagh, Joanna Lumley and Myleene Klass are among the talents offering their creations for auction.
One drawing signed by Sir Ian features the Hamlet-inspired pun: “To bee or not to bee.”
Fellow Shakespeare enthusiast Sir Kenneth offered a similar pub on his creation about “2 bees”.
A collection of 80 works will go under the hammer, with an impressive list of acclaimed artists contributing work.
Gilbert and George, Rachel Whiteread, Mona Hatoum, Wolfgang Buttress and Maggi Hambling have all drawn or painted the honey-making insects for charity Bees for Development.
Money will go towards promoting bee keeping as a means of sustainable income for families in the developing world. Works will be auctioned online to mark World Bee Day.
Martha Kearney, of organisers Bee Garden Party, said: “Who would have thought that bees could have inspired some of the UK’s best known artists and celebrities to create such lovely work?
“We believe this highly unusual exhibition is the largest of its kind ever assembled.”
Works will be displayed at the exclusive Bee Garden Party, which regular attendee Jeremy Paxman called “the most eccentric party I have ever been to”.
Dr Nicola Bradbear, founder of Bees for Development said: “There is nothing like our Bee Garden Party.
“It is a wonderful mix of people interested in bees, good food and the natural world in the glorious setting of Marlborough House’s garden in full flower.
“All proceeds go towards our charity’s work and this event is an excellent way to celebrate the wonderful honey bee, a remarkable species which enriches our lives in so many ways.”
The party is held at Marlborough House on the last day of the auction.
The auction for the postcard-sized artworks begins today and runs until 7.30pm on June 12.