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2018 Looking back over a busy year at the gallery

Mon Jan 7, 2019

In February we collaborated with the contemporary portrait painter Lorna May Wadsworth and the Milliner Victoria Grant in a showcase exhibition of current work by both practitioners. This marked the first public display of Wadsworth’s portrait of Grant reclining in her vibrant London studio. March this year saw the gallery transform into a Portrait Miniatures cabinet of curiosities in another successful selling exhibition accompanied by a series of sell-out guest lectures.

April brought the arrival of our first full-scale exhibition dedicated to a Modern British painter, Sir Cedric Lockwood Morris. Beyond the Garden Wall was attended by thousands of visitors and our collaboration with the Garden Museum in Lambeth for their own sponsored exhibition on the artist’s works proved to be a hugely popular endeavour. The exhibition, which focussed on a selection of some of the artist’s most successful and daring landscapes and travel paintings, represented the first dedicated display of Morris paintings since the retrospective held at the Tate Gallery in 1984. In league with the Garden Museum’s show Artist Plantsman, Beyond the Garden Wall marked a thorough reappraisal of the artist who taught Lucien Freud at the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing in the 1940s.

Sir Cedric Lockwood Morris Agaete, Gran Canaria (1956), detail

With spring quickly turning into a hot summer in London, Philip Mould & Co. took a selection of our most significant works to Chelsea for the annual Masterpiece Fair. At our stand this year we exhibited an eclectic display of paintings, sculptures and portrait miniatures that encapsulated 500 years of great British art. Some of our key highlights included a recently uncovered Jacobean portrait of a noblewoman wearing a decorative red and white floral dress.

In July Philip Mould & Co. discovered and sold a remarkable discovery; one of the earliest known examples of a 16th century portrait depicting the young Queen Elizabeth I. The panel represents a type of Tudor portraiture used to disseminate the image of the new Queen but before Elizabeth I began censoring the stylistic treatment of her public image.

In August the seventh series of Fake or Fortune? returned to BBC One on Sunday evenings with one of the show’s most thrilling re-attributions to-date. A work held in the collection of Scone Palace in Scotland, depicting Dido Belle, the mixed-race 18th century daughter of an African slave, and her cousin, Lady Murray, was the subject of the most popular programmes from this series. The work was previously thought to be by Johann Zoffany, but research carried out by the Fake or Fortune? team ended up proving that in fact the painting is the work of Anstruther-born artist David Martin.

In October, work began on our mystery exhibition ‘Charles Dickens: The Lost Portrait’ with our first venture into the realm of podcast making. On hand we had Portrait Miniature Specialist, Emma Rutherford, Director or the Charles Dickens Museum, Dr Cindy Sughrue, Curator of the Museum, Louisa Price and Charles Dickens’ Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter, Lucinda Dickens Hawksley. The podcast, which is still available to listen to on the Entale podcasting app, i-tunes and Google podcasting app Stitcher, launched on 21st November and offers a further insight into this remarkable find.

Margaret Gillies, Portrait of Charles Dickens (1843) 'The Lost Portrait'

November and December 2018 were two especially exciting months for Philip Mould & Co. due to the miraculous discovery of a long-lost portrait of Charles Dickens by the professional female artist Margaret Gillies. The portrait, which has gained a significant amount of national and international press, was painted in 1843 by Gillies, over the course of 6-7 sitting, whilst Dickens was penning his festive masterpiece A Christmas Carol. The portrait has not been seen in public since it was displayed as part of the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition in 1844 and was found in 2017 in a box of trinkets in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.