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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 November 2007, 13:19 GMT
Bidding war under way for island
Stuart Semple
Artist Stuart Semple's latest bid for Long Island is 1.5m
A millionaire artist is locked in a bidding war to buy a 30-acre uninhabited Dorset island which does not have planning permission.

Bournemouth born Stuart Semple's bid for Long Island in Poole Harbour has already increased from 1.3m to 1.5m.

Mr Semple, 27, whose works sell for more than 100,000 each, says his business manager thinks he is "mad".

Estate agent Stephen Noble is managing the sale for Rempstone Estate, owners of the island since the 19th Century.

My business manager thinks I am quite mad
Artist Stuart Semple

Mr Semple, who hit the headlines when he sneaked a painting into the Saatchi Gallery in London to protest at the absence of British artists at an exhibition two years ago, said: "It would be just amazing to have a beautiful, magical island.

"But my business manager thinks I am quite mad."

Mr Semple graduated from Bournemouth and Poole College School of Art and Design with distinction before studying painting and printmaking at Bretton Hall College of the University of Leeds.

His career began at the 1997 Fresh Paint show in Southampton but it was his much-celebrated "Nancy boy Paintings" exhibition in 2000 that cemented his name in the art world.

"It's an amazing opportunity to surround myself with nature and inspiration in a place I grew up, I've got my toes crossed," he added.

Local art scene

He returns to Bournemouth from his London home whenever he can and spent last summer looking for properties in Sandbanks.

Mr Semple, who has requested planning permission with his bid, says he also wants to "give back to the local contemporary arts scene".

"I would like to build some sort of museum - I have artists and galleries who are interested in the concept.

"Somewhere, for children to come for art activity - I would like to inspire other kids."

Mr Semple discovered the nine-acre plot had been put on the market for the first time in more than 250 years through his friends and family.

Island on sale for more than 1m
26 Oct 07 |  Dorset
Dorset town is least affordable
17 Aug 06 |  England

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