The transfer to Itzac was safely accomplished, a relatively easy drive of 11 hours in fine weather after 2 nights at the farm near Mont St Micheal to collect art supplies…
Among the many interesting emails greeting my return to life online and in hyperspace was an enquiry asking for family information and offline an Australian ambush was lurking…
The lady in question was referring to my painting http://www.frickers.co.uk/marine-art/waterwitch.html“Waterwitch off Gribben Head“. Besides be one of our best selling prints, this picture under “further Reading” gives a tantalising amount of info about Waterwitch and her people.
The site http://www.frickers.co.uk/marine-art/waterwitch.htmlhas already attacted comments from many descendants and acted as a clearing house for info and some have been kind enough to allow us to include additional information. We probably already have more on this historic vessel and her people than any other source bar none. The further reading page reads like a short sea novel and may yet have more added by other decendants!
Our lady wrote: “I wonder if you have any information about Thomas Meadus and William Meades? Thomas Meades born 1841 is my husband’s ancestor. Not sure if this is Thomas Meadus, or if TM and WM were related. Any light you can shed on these two men would be very interesting”.
Other art news included a request from a friend of many years to restore a Hart, an Aussie painting.
The issue quickly became the subject of much embarrassment.
My report on the Aussie painting went some thing like this…
Not good news, I hope you are sitting comfortably?
You may recall I did clearly say I am not a restoration specialist and I did not want to touch the painting?
I had a bad feeling about the painting and the damage the decorator had done, as you described it is unusual.
Even though I’d said I did not wish to touch it, given you asked me to re varnish it, and you delivered it and as you are a mate I started to very gently clean the surface, quite amber with apparently normal atmospheric crud, with a very mild solution recommended for oil paintings.
I discovered the coating is not varnish.
I suspect the surface coating is some lacquer product intended to make the picture look older than it actually is.
The result was “interesting”.
Although the label on the reverse clearly states “This is to certify that this work is an original OIL PAINTING and signed by the artist” it is very definitely not.
I am not even convinced it is an original.
It maybe the picture is some sort of photographic emulsion with some oil paint on it to give texture and the appearance of an original.
The very limited palette in the picture is also suspicious, basic, only 4 colours.
99% of artists use more colours, a fascination with colour is why many of them paint.
This old trick is still used on gyclee copies of paintings to make them look original.
While I have and never will produce such, I have seen them sold as “original art”, thus delicately side stepping the claim made on the reverse of your picture.
The surface almost immediately began to dissolve. Instant stress! Quite impossible if the picture was an oil painting.
Of course I stopped immediately.
I have cleaned many oil paintings so I do know for certain this one is not an oil painting.
For certain it is not an oil, acrylic or even a water colour.
At first I was very upset about this feeling I’d let you down. On reflection though I think we have both been “had”.
Then the question is what to do about this?
I would recommend drink a bottle of good wine then as the initial damage was caused by a tradesman working in your house, you make a claim on your house insurance or it goes to a professional picture restorer. Of the latter I know of one in Plymouth.
I am very unhappy about this, it has wasted much time and is stressful, I’m upset for us both.
Problems I already have, I don’t need more and do not look forward to your response!
As things turned out, my mate took the news surprisingly calmly especially considering he thinks the painting now worth about 4.000 Euro, thus a flying example of fine art increasing in value over not to many years. Of course many people realise quality fine art has consistently been one of the best investment possible and in the current Credit Crunch, not less, more people are buying quality fine art – and yes we will look for a picture restorer!