Children of 'tramp artist' launch legal battle over £6.5m legacy

By Louise Barnett
Wednesday 20 November 2013 02:03
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The young children of a deceased artist who kept an embalmed tramp in his studio are to contest their share of his £6.5m estate.

The portrait artist Robert Lenkiewicz, best known for his studies of vagrancy, died aged 60 in Plymouth last August, leaving 11 children by several women.

Lenkiewicz, who was married and divorced three times, left each of his children a tax-free legacy of £5,000.

The executor of his estate, Peter Walmsley, said claims for higher sums had been submitted on behalf of three infant children.

"It is not at all untoward for the courts to decide on what would be a reasonable provision for the infant children because obviously they are not old enough to make those decisions themselves," said Mr Walmsley, a solicitor.

The artist's other children have until September to make claims for a higher sum. The settlement will be decided by a court order.

Lenkiewicz, who lived frugally in Plymouth, left a £6.5m estate. It included a collection of books worth about £4m, which was left to the Lenkiewicz Foundation Trust, a registered charity.

The will made no mention of what should happen to the embalmed body of a tramp, Edwin Mackenzie, known as Diogenes, which was kept in the artist's studio. Mr Walmsley is awaiting instructions from the Lenkiewicz Foundation on the matter.

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