James Hart Dyke

About Artist: Hart Dyke, a painter who has accompanied Prince Charles as official artist on four royal tours, and been embedded as a war artist with the Grenadier Guards in Iraq and Afghanistan, suspected an elaborate joke when he was approached by MI6, the government secret service that deals with overseas intelligence-gathering. "It sounded so unlikely that I reckoned someone was having me on," he says. His first brush with the spooks was a mysterious phone call – "it was from someone I'd once worked with, I can't tell you who" – followed by a meeting over a drink in a pub. "We found a quiet corner, and he sketched out the landscape. Basically, I was being asked to infiltrate MI6 as an artist! It sounded extraordinary. I couldn't have made it up."

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