Thursday, 21 March 2013

Lost Art Going Home

Last evening, I wrote that I'd found some frames, two of which had prints in them. The signature was not distinguishable and so I thought I would be unable to find out any information. However, today, I heard back from the minister of the church in the prints, St. Andrews in Williamstown, and she passed on photos I'd sent to others in the church, they have an archival team, and two people identified the artist as Charles Robin Wall, someone who was a parishioner more than 40 years ago. He lives with his son, Robert, who is also an artist, on Bowen Island off the coast of British Columbia.

I phoned Robert Wall this morning and it was interesting. At first, he had no idea why someone would be calling him from out-of-the-blue from Ottawa but as I explained my reason, he was able to add tidbits I otherwise would not know. His father, quite elderly now (son Robert was born in 1960), was a master printer and Rob knew that these prints were done in colour. He was uncertain if the church had any of the seven prints of the front or any of the six of the rear perspective but people from St. Andrews assure me that they don't have either of these prints.

Which leads me to ask the question, what happened to the 13 prints made in 1972, and in particular, the two that I found yesterday, who initially had them and how did they happen to part company? I wonder if these prints were sold, given, stolen, or simply discarded. One of the frames has damaged corners but amazingly, there is no damage to the actual prints. The mats have sustained exposure to water but the glass is intact and with a little refurbishment, these are ready to hang. I have asked the minister and others I emailed if they would like these prints for their church and they said yes and are thrilled. I will be travelling to Williamstown on an upcoming sunny Sunday to repatriate this art. Updates on this upbeat story as they occur. 

Meanwhile, the other frames in the box have maps with writing with writing that looks like Latin. There were four of these but someone else took the two Canadian ones so I have the Asia and Europe ones.