Samuel Johnson portrait damaged by hammer

Aug. 10, 2007 at 11:39 AM

LONDON, Aug. 10 (UPI) -- Damage a hammer-wielding man inflicted on a $3.4 million portrait of Samuel Johnson can be repaired, National Portrait Gallery curators in London said.

The portrait by 18th century artist Joshua Reynolds was attacked shortly before the gallery closed Wednesday by a man who smashed the protective glass and drove the hammer into the canvas, The Independent reported Friday.

A gallery spokesman said officials were unsure of restoration costs.

"Until the painting has been professionally assessed by a qualified painting conservator, it is not possible to give a reasonable assessment of the cost of repair," the spokesperson said. "The good news the painting is repairable and is already being looked at."

A man surrendered without incident to security staff, who held him until police arrived. Metropolitan Police said they charged Mark Paton, a 44-year-old homeless man, with one count of criminal damage and another count of possessing a hammer with intent to cause criminal damage.

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