Secret stone painter brings joy to residents with doorstep surprises

PUBLISHED: 15:43 01 June 2020 | UPDATED: 11:55 09 June 2020

Winston with his stone on forbidden ground. Photo: Victoria Knight.

Winston with his stone on forbidden ground. Photo: Victoria Knight.

Victoria Knight

A secret stone painter has been painting stones and leaving them outside residents’ houses in an attempt to bring some joy during lockdown.

Lisa's dog with his painted stone. Photo: Lisa Clayden.Lisa's dog with his painted stone. Photo: Lisa Clayden.

The stones often picture the residents’ current or previous dogs and have been gifted to people across Uttlesford. Some are left outdoors in public spaces for anyone to find.

Victoria Knight from Cutlers Green, near Thaxted, received one of the first painted stones about three weeks ago, on a Sunday afternoon.

“My husband went to bring the dogs back and it was by our gate,” she recalled.

The stone has an illustration of Victoria’s dog, Winston, sitting on the sofa – something which Winston, a “very naughty” Border Terrier, 10, is not normally allowed to do.

Lisa's dog was painted on a stone. Photo: Lisa Clayden.Lisa's dog was painted on a stone. Photo: Lisa Clayden.

“It’s really sweet, it’s just a really nice thing to do, it’s really cheered me up in these times. It’s nice to know that someone thinks of you,” said Victoria.

“Whoever is responsible is both talented and kind-hearted. The stones are bringing lots of cheer to pet owners in Thaxted!”

She thinks the secret painter is very skilled at capturing the “quirks of people’s dogs”.

For example, she has seen a stone that depicts a lady’s Old English Sheepdog really well. It has the dog’s face, but it seems to capture the dog’s spirit.

Floss, a 12-year-old Border Collie, was delighted to receive a painted stone in Stebbing. Photo: Jane Beanland.Floss, a 12-year-old Border Collie, was delighted to receive a painted stone in Stebbing. Photo: Jane Beanland.

Lisa Clayden, from Felsted, said the hand-painted stones being left for people are “bringing such happiness”.

“I’ve received a painted stone with my dog on it,” Lisa said.

“It has brought such joy to so many people during the lockdown period.”

People across Uttlesford are now sharing their pictures with the hashtags #secretstonepainter and #secretpainter. Send us yours, together with a short description, your full name, village, and phone number to andra.maciuca@archant.co.uk.

Flora, from Thaxted, received a stone too. Photo: Kate Fletcher.Flora, from Thaxted, received a stone too. Photo: Kate Fletcher.

Thaxted dog Flora's stone. Photo: Kate Fletcher.Thaxted dog Flora's stone. Photo: Kate Fletcher.

""This morning at the end of my driveway was a lovely surprise waiting for me. A beautiful stone painting of my dog Toby." Photo: Sarah Crossman.

"It has absolutely made my day and all the family love it. Thank you #secretstonepainter whoever you are. Such a wonderful kind gesture during our lockdown." Photo: Sarah Crossman.

Cookie from Thaxted having a siesta next to his new stone. Photo: Paul Roberts.Cookie from Thaxted having a siesta next to his new stone. Photo: Paul Roberts.

"This was left on our doorstep last week. It’s great and has really helped us get through isolation. A great keepsake." - Paul Roberts on Cookie's stone.

Jazz, a nine-year-old rescue Lurcher and her owner, Dorothy, from Thaxted were very pleased to receive a beautifully painted stone from the secret stone painter. Photo: Anna Lee.
Jazz, a nine-year-old rescue Lurcher and her owner, Dorothy, from Thaxted were very pleased to receive a beautifully painted stone from the secret stone painter. Photo: Anna Lee.

Jazz, a nine-year-old rescue Lurcher and her owner, Dorothy, from Thaxted were very pleased to receive a beautifully painted stone from the secret stone painter. Photo: Anna Lee.
Jazz, a nine-year-old rescue Lurcher and her owner, Dorothy, from Thaxted were very pleased to receive a beautifully painted stone from the secret stone painter. Photo: Anna Lee.

Maudie, a Whippet from Thaxted. Photo: Sue Parker.Maudie, a Whippet from Thaxted. Photo: Sue Parker.

Kelly Connolly, from Thaxted, said she was Kelly Connolly, from Thaxted, said she was "thrilled" to receive a stone. Photo: Kelly Connolly.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Saffron Walden Reporter. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Saffron Walden Reporter