The Times reported yesterday on an interesting quest of discovery. The National Trust have just had restored three panel paintings in oils of saints, known as The Fathers of the Church, depicting Pope Gregory I, Saint Jerome and Saint Augustine. They hail from that marvellous property Chastleton House in Oxfordshire and are believed to date to around the time the house was built in the early seventeenth-century. However, one is missing from the set of four – Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Milan.
A 1919 article noted all four of them being at the house, but nobody currently knows when Ambrose went AWOL. The last family to own the house before the Trust have no recollection of the picture and so the hunt is on to see if it lurks somewhere else, the passing of time shrouding its significance.
As a guide there is an engraving which is believed to be what the painting might resemble (shown here, it lurking amongst my collection). And of course it might be in a somewhat broken state as the panels the Trust has are now shown having been expertly restored.
So get searching……