A nude portrait of Sean Connery has been discovered almost 60 years after the former James Bond star posed for a life drawing class at the Edinburgh College of Art.
The then body builder and Mr Universe contestant was approached by the College to work as a live model for students after being spotted in a gym on the Royal Mile in 1951.
Aged 21, Connery had just returned from a three-year stint in the Navy and was about to land his first acting role in the West End production of South Pacific. It would be ten years before he was bolted to fame in the 007 film Dr. No.
Several decades later a canvas oil painting of Connery wearing nothing but body building trunks has been discovered in the collection of former ECA student Rab Webster, the principal of art at Selkirk High School, who passed away last month aged 83.
The painting was found stacked amongst numerous others and is thought to be worth thousands.
Mr Webster stopped painting in 1968 but his family is now hoping to hold an exhibition of his work in his hometown of Selkirk in the Scottish Borders.
Nick Bihel, who is married to Mr Webster’s niece Heather, said: “There were a few sketches of Sean Connery which are distributed among the family so to speak. The oil painting was part of a whole load of paintings just stacked on top of each other in a studio he used as a dark room. He said Connery treated it just as a job and didn’t say very much.”
The discovery is the second of its kind in the last few years. In 2007, another Connery nude went on display at the ECA’s centenary exhibition Ten Decades at the City Art Centre on Market Street. The artist was the well-known jazz musician Al Fairweather, who had also been a student at the College.
Connery has previously claimed he would not return to Scotland until it achieved full independence, which delayed the awarding of his knighthood in 2000.
However, earlier this year he returned to Edinburgh during the International Film Festival for the unveiling of a plaque outside his childhood home.