An exceptional trompe l’oeil work of art from a former Burford School pupil has been crowned the people’s favourite in a gallery exhibition.

Centaur by University of Northampton Fine Art Painting and Drawing student, Harry Barker, received hundreds of votes to secure the People’s Choice Award in the Rugby Open Exhibition.

Harry, who lives in Lechlade, attended Burford School sixth form and Kingham Hill School near Chipping Norton.

The photorealistic painting, which took two months and over 200 hours to complete, was the category’s runaway winner in the exhibition, which was staged online by Rugby Art Gallery and Museum.

Centaur has amazed those who have seen the work, thanks to Harry’s mastering of the photorealistic painting technique trompe-l’œil.

He said: “The technique creates an optical illusion, which has made the painting of a centaur appear as if it exists on the three-dimensional plane, and it’s this quality that appeals to people the most.

“People on the whole are amazed when they find out that it is a painting, rather than a photo.

He added: “I often spent entire days and sometimes nights doing the smallest details. I often tell people that within a painting there are hundreds of miniature paintings that I must complete in order to create the bigger picture."