AN exhibition of work by a leading European artist has brought together hundreds of art-lovers.

Original etchings and paintings by renowned Portuguese artist Dame Paula Rego went on display at Maldon’s Hayletts Gallery earlier this month.

The 84-year-old is highly praised for her work which often depict twisted children’s folk tales or women in “unsettling” situations.

Gallery director Sally Patrick said: “I was delighted with the reception the Paula Rego exhibition received at the opening.

“Art lovers were amazed this relatively small town was able to hold such a prestigious show.

“Having sold quite a number of etchings already, it just goes to show that even if some Paula Rego’s subject matter is challenging, if someone is extremely talented, the beauty and honesty shines through.”

Sally added: “Many of Rego’s images are based on nursery rhymes which touch a chord with most people.

“It is also important to remember that these etchings are now becoming scarce, many are down to the last one.

“Art collectors have been particularly keen to see this collection of artworks.”

The exhibition is open from 10am to 5pm, Tuesday to Saturday, and ends on February 29.

All the exhibited work is for sale.