Five original paintings by the hand of 18th-century Venation Francesco Guardi - worth about GBP500,000 - were shown in London, Oct 29, some two years after David Carritt, art critic of a London evening paper, had discovered them, grime-covered and disfigured, in a ramshackle shed in Dublin.
LV. Exterior of studio
Interior LV. Mr Carritt and another walk in and look at picture.
SV. Section of painting.
SCU. Mr Carritt.
SV. Hand feeling texture of painting.
LV. of paintings.
SCU. Section of painting.
SCU. Another section of painting.
SV. Section of another painting.
SCU.PAN down another painting.
CU. Mr Carritt admiring paintings.
SV. of painting.
LV. of paintings.
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Background: Five original paintings by the hand of 18th-century Venation Francesco Guardi - worth about GBP500,000 - were shown in London, Oct 29, some two years after David Carritt, art critic of a London evening paper, had discovered them, grime-covered and disfigured, in a ramshackle shed in Dublin.
Mr Carritt, at the time merely assuming that the pictures might turn out to be of more than ordinary artistic value, advised Geoffrey Merton, a City insurance broker, to buy them as decorative items for his 18th-century collection.
In a lengthy and extremely difficult process of restoration, the paintings were striped of several layers of century-old coach varnish. Four experts worked for over twenty months, uncovering detail after detail of astonishing beauty.
Revealed in their original splendour, the paintings were found to be illustrations of the 16th-century epic poem of the Crusades, "Jerusalem Liberated" by Torquato Tasso, a favourite source of themes for Italian pointers. Art historians have confidently identified them as the work of Francesco Guardi (1712-1793), a pupil of Canaletto.
Described as one of the most astounding art treasure finds of the century, the discovery is of twofold artistic significance. First, the paintings establish Guardi as a painter of figure compositions comparable to his more famous brother-in-law, G.B. Tiepolo. Secondly, they are the only series of first-class 18th-century Venetian painting still in private hands.
Mr Merton has expressed his hope to put them on public view in the near future. He said: "They are not for sole. Their future is undecided." The enormous value of his acquisition is apparent from the fact that five years ago, at a sale at Sotheby's, a small Guardi drawing measuring 3 feet by 18 inches fetched the impressive sum of GBP10,000.