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Kieron Williamson: Art prodigy poses 'ethical nightmare' for parents

BBC News NorFolk, 18 July 2013  

Art prodigy Kieron Williamson, aged 10, has made an estimated £1.5m from his paintings over the past five years and been dubbed a "mini-Monet".

But Kieron Williamson's mother says bringing him up poses an "ethical nightmare" for the family.

Kieron, from Ludham, Norfolk, was catapulted into the media spotlight in 2010 when, aged seven, his first exhibition sold out within minutes for £150,000.

His landscapes - which first appeared in 2008 after he asked his parents for a drawing pad while on a family holiday to the Cornish coast - are highly prized by collectors.

He has now spent half his life producing images which can sell for in excess of £45,000, with requests from people around the world to paint for them, including high-profile celebrities.

No 'exploitation'

"As a family we try to hold on to normality as much as we can but it's a nightmare to be honest, a big ethical and legal nightmare," said Michelle Williamson.

"We do the best we can to keep family life on an even keel. People looking at his success only ever see the money and think it's all fun, they don't think about the balance we have to create in his life.

"We have to ensure Kieron is protected from exploitation and the legal system has to ensure we, as a parents, are doing the right thing for him."

The Williamson family regularly meet with solicitors to ensure Kieron's affairs are being handled properly.

Michelle Williamson Kieron's mother

"There have been cases where children have sued their parents for investing money on their behalf, which you think you're doing the right thing at the time, but your children can then challenge at a later date," said Mrs Williamson.

Kieron has been invited to exhibit his work around the world and companies have offered to fly him around the globe to promote their products.

He has also been offered the chance to do television interviews as part of the US celebrity circuit, but his parents are determined he should enjoy a normal life.

"We have to be very conscious not to let him be exploited in that way. If we were different parents we might enjoy the celebrity status he could bring," she said.

"Kieron has his own team of solicitors that specialise in trust legislation so even the decisions we make as parents in regard to his investments are overseen by the people who can best advise and protect us and Kieron for the future.


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 June 2014