Mr Roscoe, a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and a winner of the Ondaatje Prize for Portraiture, did not mince his words when he came forward to admit hiding the insult in his portrait of Oddie, a former member of the Goodies comedy trio.
“Bill Oddie was a horrible person, quite awful actually, so I added a ghost of a bird with its name in Latin written alongside,” he told The Independent Mr Roscoe added: “I was testing his knowledge as an ornithologist. It was my cheeky way of describing him – something along the lines of a 'long-tailed tit’, Aegithalos caudatus – as he was 'long in the tooth’ and it sounded like a bit of an insult.”Hmmm. What, I wonder, did the manic ex-Goodie do to so incur the petulant wrath of this artist?
Oddie said: “I don’t really take offence at it. If it makes him happy then fine. But as one artist said, it’s difficult enough to paint someone’s portrait without putting in silly little messages which people are unlikely to either see or understand.”
The wildlife presenter, known for his work on BBC’s Springwatch and Autumnwatch, was at a loss to explain why the painter would describe him as “horrible” and “awful”.
“The only thing I may have said at the time about the Roscoe portrait could have been something along the lines of 'that’s great, but it’s a little bit camp’, which in truth it is, with that toy monkey wearing a pith helmet and holding a pot of flowers.”Whoops! He’s got a point though, hasn’t he?