What have we here?

Anonymous sitter by unknown artist. Torre Abbey Collection. Photo credit: Public Catalogue Foundation courtesy of Torre Abbey

Anonymous sitter by unknown artist. Torre Abbey Collection. Photo credit: Public Catalogue Foundation courtesy of Torre Abbey

Query submitted by Amelia Marriette, Exhibitions and Collections Curator at Torre Abbey, Torquay

Here at Torre Abbey, we are currently undergoing a 4 million pound refurbishment – the second major structural refurbishment in 5 years. This time though, we have had the advantage of having a design company to hand and a limited budget for conservation. Choosing which paintings to conserve has been a challenge. I knew about all of the major and important works that needed work, or so I thought. There lurking was an absolute gem, or at least I think it is?  Anonymous sitter, unknown artist: oh dear! But, despite this we are going to conserve it and hang it.

Amelia Marriette, Exhibitions and Collections Curator at Torre Abbey Torquay. Photo credit: Sarah Bagnall

Amelia Marriette, Exhibitions and Collections Curator at Torre Abbey Torquay. Photo credit: Sarah Bagnall

The label has proved challenging: we have just had to admit that we know nothing about it. But, my attendances at the Understanding British Portraits events has given me the confidence to know that I might one day be able to find out who the sitter is and/or who the artist is. When the refurbishment is over and I have my life back I shall be making this my priority. In the mean time, the Public Catalogue Foundation/BBC website helps and the conservators will also discover some truths.

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