Sunday, 21 August 2016



I bought a piece of art.
I liked it, I thought it looked interesting and the thrift shop only charged 50 eurocents for it.

After a bit of research, an email to an international expert, a glance at international sites for selling of items and some further reading about colonialism and history, I now know why.
It has a lot of interesting aspects.
I also know that my investment has is worth hundreds of per cent more than I paid for it, and that a lot of people would not even touch it.
I have hung it on a nail on my wall.

What I bought is a 19th century copy of a painting by Antonio (Anthony) van Dyck.

It is a portrait of James II of England (James VII of Scotland), also known as James Stewart. It is a detail from a larger painting showing the three oldest children of Charles I. (There are other paintings showing the four-five-six-seven oldest children of Charles I (Queen Elizabeth II of England owns some of them and they are displayed at Windsor Castle.)

The original of my little detail is painted probably 1635 and could possibly be from the one on display in the Galleria Sabauda in the Palazzo Reale Museum in Turin, Italy. At least it looks like this, copied ). 

The accompanied text from the site, notes other versions of the same painting, also originals by Van Dyck. One is supposed to be in Dresden (probably Gemäldegallerie Alte Meister, but I have so far not found a picture on-line, and I have no recollection of it from the time when I called Dresden home). 

Another version by Van Dyck is supposed to be in Stanford Hall in the UK. Today Stanford Hall is today a wedding and party venue of the more exclusive kind. They have posted pictures on-line and in one of them (which I have rudely screen-shot). The Van Dyck can be seen on the wall.

 My little painting is nothing like this. Nor does my house look anything like this.

My little painting is very fine, detailed, delicate and could possibly be painted on glass. 
It is a delight to see - under a magnifying glass. There is a tiny, tiny signature (NOT Van Dyck).

It is set in ivory under a convex glass (slightly dirty on the inside ) surrounded by a not too fine yellow metal ring. It is ready to hang and it looks like this in a mirror image:

I long to break into the frame to see the back of the miniature portrait and to clean the glass but I suppose I should not. Similar 19th century copies of unknown paintings set in ivory are sold on-line for between €55-75. I am guessing that it could fetch more as it is a copy of Van Dyck and of a very very historically controversial person. If I ever sell it, I will make a donation to the thrift shop organisation.
However, it is not for sale at the moment. Ivory older than 1947 is legal to sell and the back clearly shows that this little thing is older than that. However, it is not uncontroversial to sell ivory, and a lot of people will not touch it.

I have hung it on my wall with pictures of other Catholics while the Orange family looking angrily at them from the Protestant wall.

The international expert I asked? Bendor Grosvenor from the BBC series Fake or Fortune. See his blog in my link love list to the right. Not that he gave much of an answer, but he did answer!

By the way, did you know Samuel Pepys on 11 April 1669 complained that James as the Duke of York was looking too long at his wife ("did eye my wife mightily")? You find also find Samuel Pepys Diary in my link love list to the right.

All links in this post are to link love sites, nothing commercial.


  1. I am envious. Samuel Pepys experienced many things 'mightiliy'. The last person I heard saying she was 'mighty' about anything was my mother.

    1. I didn't mean to make anybody envious. But I am mightiliy happy to have a Van Dyke in the house. Pepys has been commenting on things around here for many many years.