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Sweet revenge! Biscuit tin artist's saucy sign-off; Risque scenes form part of collection worth pounds 5,000.

Byline: POLLY DUNBAR

A DRAUGHTSMAN took revenge on his boss almost 25 years ago when he painted saucy sex scenes on a biscuit tin depicting an Edwardian garden party.

The mystery artist had been made redundant by Aintree-based Quaker biscuit maker Huntley and Palmer. But he decided to get his own back by including the risqueimages in the background of the lid.

Now one of the few remaining tins is going under the hammer as part of a collection of biscuit tins expected to fetch pounds 5,000.

The lid of the tin,painted 24 years ago, was intended to depict a charming Edwardian garden party,complete with prim ladies in flowing dresses and playing children.

But a closer look reveals the addition of two lovers having sex in the undergrowth of the scene, along with a pair of copulating dogs and the word ``sh*t'' on the label of a jam jar.

The explicit pictures on the lid, which was based on a painting by Kate Greenaway, the early 20th century children's illustrator,are the revenge taken by a disgruntled draughts man who lost his job and failed to receive what he felt was adequatecompensation.

They went unnoticed for years until a shopkeeper spotted them and production was halted,by which time thousands of the tins had already been sold.

Richard Gold,of Lawrences Auctioneers, said:``The employee was a draughts man who was fired but not given any financial help. He thought `I'llfix them' so he produced this nice-looking tin and added these touches of his own.''

The tin was produced at a time of strained industrial relations at Huntley and Palmers, which at its height at the turn of the 20th century was the biggest biscuit producer in the world.

The firm, which at one time had more than 5,000 employees at its complex in Reading,Berkshire, had supplied its brands to 137 countries,and was renowned for its packaging to the extent that the tin lids were designed to be displayed on kitchen walls.

At the time of the X-rated tin's production,it had been forced to close its original plant in Reading in 1976,and was trying to cut costs at its production centre in Liverpool, so many workers were made redundant,including the rebel draughtsman.

He may also have had other grounds for his actions,as the company was notorious for the strict rules it imposed on employees, with smoking in the toilet and stealing biscuits deemed sackable offences.

Conduct was monitored even outside the factory gate, with a rule-book from 1970 banning workers from throwing snowballs in the streets around the factory.

It is unclear how many of the saucy tins remain in people's homes,adding to the value of the one being auctioned.

The container is part of a 100 - item collection of biscuit tins built up by West Country aristocrat Count de Salis, which altogether is expected to fetch around pounds 5,000.

A spokesman for Huntley and Palmer, which was relaunched this year after a 10-year gap by a former Jacobs Biscuits director, said: ``This is an example of what happens when things go wrong in the manufacturing process.It's quite special-we have nothing else like this.''

CAPTION(S):

Miranda Bingham,of the auctioneers, with the tin depicting a couple, two dogs and the jam label. These bits of the illustration went unnoticed until a shopkeeper spotted them years later Pictures: PHIL YEOMANS
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 17, 2004
Words:574
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