TRIBUTES have been paid to a "delightful eccentric” – known for handing out abstract paintings to people on the streets of York.

Angus Edward Vivian Smith, the 3rd Baron of Bicester, passed on December 11, aged 82, after a number of years spent at The Retreat in Strensall, York, where he was a long-term resident.

The genial peer was a well-loved character in York; known for selling his abstract paintings of paint swirls, horses, trees or people to passers-by or his many friends or acquaintances in the city.

Lord Bicester would sell his artwork – created on an A4 pad – for a couple of pounds, or give them away for free on the streets of York, or on bus journeys around the city.

The Old Etonian had a passion for horse-racing and was a familiar sight in the city’s bookies, where he often placed small bets.

He sold many of his paintings for charity and last year raised £120 for Arthritis Research with an exhibition.

A psychiatric order was placed on him in 1965, but after more than 30 years in psychiatric hospitals he won a battle to be released after a mental health tribunal reviewed his case.

It was argued his behaviour was eccentric and no danger to others or himself.

His solicitor argued his knowledge of people in high places and ability to embarrass them meant he was treated differently.

He resumed his seat in the Lords and voted in Lords debates during the 1980s, but was detained again when he tried to flag down Princess Diana’s car “for a chat”.

In his later years, the colourful character lived at The Retreat in York, a Quaker-run hospital where he became a well-known sight in the city and regularly attended services and events at York Minster.

Lord Bicester was unmarried. The peerage now devolves upon his younger brother, the Hon Hugh Charles Vivian Smith.

His funeral will be held at York Minster at 1.30pm on Thursday (January 8).