Thomas the Obscure

I like finding mysterious painters. When Thomas Hardy is mentioned most of us think of the author of ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ or ‘Jude the Obscure’ but in this case it’s Thomas the obscure. Despite portraying many well-known people of the time, including the great composer Joseph Haydn and the socialite Georgiana Duchess of [read more]

Lost Portraits

Lost Portraits

I can’t believe it has been a year since I scribed a post here. A lot has been going on, not least, the completion of a book: Lost Portraits Rediscovered. Available now with Foyles and Amazon. And direct from me if you send an email. The year has also seen me start to post on [read more]


Seek and Ye Shall find…..

….or at least in theory. He was sought and found  but in a world where we’re watched and tagged virtually anywhere one of potentially the greatest art forgers of all time has gone AWOL. The Art Newspaper has the story as well as elsewhere and it’s certainly worth reading if, like me, you’re amazed by [read more]


A Monumental Undertaking

If like me you’re enraptured by the historic weird and wonderful then a book to hit the shelves in time for the Christmas list is C.B. Newham’s Country Church Monuments. Having catalogued and visited over 900 parish churches in England and Wales the results have been published in a fine volume. Near to me is [read more]


Shedding New Light on an Old Master

A very good 17th century portrait by Theodore Roussel came my way recently which got me delving through many books. It’s the head and shoulders of a gentleman (above) after an original by Van Dyck, (below) but in this case the gentleman is just that, merely “a gentleman”. Van Dyck’s work has been studied in [read more]


Do you have a Saint in the cupboard?

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 [read more]

Hals-Laughing Cavalier

Time is of the essence…….

….to catch the Hals exhibition before it closes. If, like me, you find that with the whole world having been turned upside down and inside out you have lost the grasp of real time then the clock is fast ticking away on some fine exhibtions in London. Head to the Wallace Collection very soon and [read more]

Faithful & Fearless

Canine portraiture

My fascination with portraiture is pushed to the limits now that Xavier Bray of the Wallace Collection has just produced a book on dog portraits in art. Surely cats must follow, I thought, but alas that’s already been done. Makes sense really, I suppose, given our love of our faithful friends over the centuries. Needless [read more]


Returning Home to Lydiard Park

It is always rather pleasing when a discovery ends up going home. I was fortunate enough recently to help the charity ‘Friends of Lydiard Park‘ secure for their collections at Lydiard House, Swindon a striking portrait of Holles St.John by John Vanderbank. Holles was the younger brother of John, 2nd Viscount St. John of Lydiard [read more]

Thomas Lawrence

The Young Thomas Lawrence

There’s a fascinating exhibition on the early works of a favourite artist of mine just “opened” at the Holburne Museum in Bath. Thomas Lawrence Coming of Age concerns the pictures he produced in the first twenty-five years of his life. By his mid teenage years he was working in Bath on small pastel portraits, some [read more]


A Good Discovery

Sometimes discoveries are few and far between and other times they just keep on coming. In the field of British Portraiture the ranks of artists working, particularly during the 18th and 19th centuries, was enormous.  Portraits are something that the British over the centuries had a distinct enthusiasm for. Whether being symbolic statements of power, [read more]


Napoleon’s Anniversary

Today is the 200th anniversary of the death of Napoleon Bonaparte. Hero or despot, President Macron thinks it’s something worth marking, and will be laying a wreath and making speeches. The famed Corsican is one of the most divisive figures in French history; his huge contribution to the creation of the modern state set against [read more]


One for the Bookshelves

A new volume on the portraiture of Van Dyck has just been published. The brilliant Sir Christopher White has seen this go to the printers in his 90th year…a major achievement and I can’t wait to get my copy. Described by the publishers:  A beautiful, lively tour through the portraits of one of the most [read more]


Hidden London

The Charterhouse is one of those unknown gems that is always overlooked – which makes it even more intriguing for it. I last visited back in the wet winter months towards the end of 2019 and was fortunate to see it just prior to the grand transformation of the great chamber which was revealed last [read more]


Christies Archive Closes

Such a shame that Christies believes that it can no longer keep its archive open for consultation. As with so many things at the moment its closure is said to be a result of Covid. It seems a bit flimsy, and I suspect they’ve thought of doing this for a while. Whenever I contacted them [read more]


Caligula’s Pleasure Gardens to Open in Rome

Italy’s Ministry of Cultural Heritage (MiBACT) plans to open the gardens of the infamous Roman emperor Caligula to the public. Originally known as the Horti Lamiani, the gardens now lie below street level in Rome and are planned to open this Spring and display relics from the first century Emperor’s time. The Nymphaeum Museum of [read more]


Max Beckmann Catalogue Raisonné

Brilliant news! The very first catalogue raisonné for the artist Max Beckmann is going online today. He died just over 70 years ago which means his work has entered the public domain. It will contain images of 843 of his paintings, information on more than 5,000 publications and 1,350 exhibitions, as well as details about [read more]


Goodbye Artemisia!

The clock ticks down to the end of an exhibition that was long in the coming. Unfortunately so few of us had the chance to see it because of the pandemic, though all credit to the National Gallery who tried hard to get and keep the doors open. Alas, in just 9 days the exhibition [read more]


Georgian Group Journal

Great News. The Georgian Group has just put online the content of their Journals since publication began. Free and easy to use anyone who is interested will have complete access. First published in 1986 the journal is an authoritative record for early modern architecture in Britain between 1660 and 1840. It is essential reading for anyone [read more]

Sale of the Century

  The count down is on as we get ever closer to the sale of the century from Sotheby’s. Having tempted the Arab market by jetting the painting across for a viewing of, incredibly, just one day (they sense where the buyer might come from at this level) it is poised to become the second [read more]

New Year

A new year and a new section to this site. Here we hope to bring you views and news and a lot between. Having just packed away the decorations from Christmas my mind was drifting across the cards which also need to be cleared and various angels, depicted singing out on high, caught my eye. [read more]