British singer Gary Barlow was kept in the dark after builders at his home smashed a beloved portrait gifted to him by his mother.

The Take That hitmaker was handed the painting by his mum after he turned 40 last year (11), but the work was ruined when workmen renovating his property accidentally knocked it off the wall.

Rather than admit the mistake to the pop star, the crafty handymen went straight to the artist who created the painting and begged him to create another before their boss found out.

Artist Matthew Andrews tells Britain's The Sun, "They phoned me up in a panic and said, 'We've smashed Gary Barlow's portrait, can you make us another one?'

"I made them a new one within a week and they came to collect it - so I don't know whether Gary knows about it to this day.

"He was out of the country at the time, in Africa, recording the Queen's Diamond Jubilee song."