If you haven’t seen it by now, what have you been doing? The last episode of The Grand Tour was published to Amazon last Friday, and followed the trio as they travelled through China in old luxury saloons.
Along the way, they attempted to teach themselves something, while being driven around in these cars by chauffeurs. Hammond tried to teach himself how to cook, Clarkson was to teach himself how to make sculptures out of matchsticks. May was eager to push his painting skills to the next level by painting what he saw on his drive through the Chinese landscape.
He ended up with a piece of art that was… questionable. And now he’s putting it up for auction on Ebay with all of the proceeds going to charity. The charity in question is CALM, which is a movement against male suicide – the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK.
Here’s the auction description…
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We are delighted to offer for auction this exquisite artwork, executed in 2018 by the internet presenter James May in acrylic on stuff. I forgot to measure it and it’s now in a secure bank vault, but it’s roughly 12 x 6 inches.
The work, described by the ineminent art critic Jennifer Clarkson as ‘crap’, was completed during the filming of The Grand Tour season 3 episode 6 (‘Chinese food for thought’), and depicts objects and scenes glimpsed fleetingly from the rear seat of a speeding Mercedes-Benz 600SEL. That’s the slab-sided one from the early 90s, sometimes known as the German Staff Car.
Keen observers will recognise that the painting is a commentary on the transience of human existence, the folly of ambition represented by the incomplete tower block and the confusion arising from the increasing pace of modern life depicted in those meaningless green blobs on the right. In a rare interview, the artist said, ‘This picture should be seen as a detail, if you like; an extract from a much larger installation, the remainder of which is all over the back of the car.’
Scenes glimpsed fleetingly from the rear seat of a speeding Mercedes-Benz 600SEL is crying out to be added to your collection, especially if you’re the bin man.
(Proceeds from this sale will be donated to CALM)