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We are very sad to report that Anne Barker,   a  dedicated Trustee of The Friends of St Anne’s and loyal longtime supporter has died very peacefully today after a  long illness. Anne served  for many years as the Treasurer of the Charity alongside her late Husband David  a past Chairman and a Founder of The Friends. Sincere condolences  to her daughter’s Melanie and Amanda from the Executive Committee /  Trustees.  Further information to followLorraine Neale 2ndMarch 2021’


ART DETECTIVE – RIP February 2021 

Charley Hill is most fondly remembered for having helped locate Edvard Munch’s 1893 version of The Scream after it was stolen from the National Museum in Oslo in 1994. 

Please see the linked obituary in Art News

The Times 2nd March 2021

Daily Telegraph 5th March 2021

Tribute from Lorraine Neale. Chairman, The Friends of St Anne’s Church. Kew

Charley Hill will be deeply missed and fondly remembered by numerous parishioners at St Anne’s Church which he attended for several years living locally in Kew. He gave a wonderful lecture about his work to us in November 2015, prompted by my late husband Sir Gerry Neale who sadly died just prior to the lecture and never heard it. Sincere condolences to his wife Caroline Hill and the family from us all.

Tribute from Dr D.C. Bellingham Programme Director, MA in Art Business Sotheby’s Institute of Art

Sadly, my very good friend and renowned art detective, Charley Hill, has passed away.  Charley was a regular lecturer for MAAB and a much-loved dissertation supervisor for several students, including Gareth Fletcher and most recently Lucy O’Meara, who have themselves gone on or will I be sure go on to great things. I remember Charley laughingly telling me that his biography* was going to be turned into a movie with Russell Crowe starring (he looks uncannily like the younger Charley) – sadly that did not happen, but I suspect that there will be many obituaries as well as, one day, a movie/documentary recounting his finding of the stolen Munch Scream from the Oslo art gallery.  The paintings Charley really wanted to get back were those stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston (subject of a recent TV documentary). Let’s hope that they come back soon as a fitting memorial to his work.

•             *Dolnick, Edward. The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece. 1st ed. New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers, 2005

Charley will be sorely missed by SIA staff and students and our sincere condolences go out to his family.

Gainsborough in London

14th April 2021 6.00-7.00pm

To order a copy of this  new book ‘Gainsborough in London’ By Dr Susan Sloman.  

 Contact the Kew Bookshop – Hewson Books  via Email:  Phone:  020 8876 1717.


Gainsborough engravings in the Tate ‘cannot have been produced by the artist

Scholar Dr Susan Sloman has reattributed three wooded landscapes dating from the 1780s to the hand of artist’s nephew Gainsborough Dupont

The Tate and the British Museum are among institutions worldwide that boast landscape prints by Thomas Gainsborough, the great 18th-century British master. Three of those prints should no longer be attributed to him, according to new research.

Dr Susan Sloman, a Gainsborough scholar, has reattributed three wooded landscapes dating from the 1780s to the hand of Gainsborough’s nephew and sole studio assistant, Gainsborough Dupont. 

Catalogue descriptions for prints such as a “Wooded Landscape with Country Cart” will have to be changed by museums and galleries as they are not by Thomas Gainsborough, she has concluded, partly from crucial stylistic evidence. Gainsborough was right-handed and the predominant angle of his shading lines is from lower left to upper right.

Dr Susan Sloman

As an original print is a mirror image of the original plate, he would deliberately reverse the direction of those lines on to the plate so that he could make accurate imitations of his drawings.

She said: “‘Wooded Landscape with Country Cart’ and ‘Wooded River Landscape’ both have shading that is not reversed.”She explained that these prints were never produced in any large quantity, but there are impressions in quite a lot of collections throughout the world. With variable descriptive titles, they are found in museums and galleries as far afield as New York, Amsterdam and Berlin.

The original copper plates from which all three prints were made are in the Tate.The problem, Dr Sloman has also discovered, lies in that two of them – “Wooded River Landscape” and “Wooded Upland Landscape with Riders and Packhorses” – bear the stamp of  “Jones & Pontifex”, whose plate-making business only began operating after Gainsborough died.

She had happened to read Mei-Ying Sung’s 2009 study, William Blake and the Art of Engraving, which provides detailed information about plate-makers, including the fact that the partnership of Jones and Pontifex traded between 1789 and 1793: “Gainsborough died in 1788, so those plates date from after his death.”

The ‘Wooded Upland Landscape’ is technically different and does not have linear shading, but it is a Jones and Pontifex plate.”

She said: “Gainsborough’s landscape prints were not published in his lifetime, but his widow collaborated with publisher John Boydell to publish a set of 12 in 1797, seven months after Dupont’s death. “The advertisement for these prints states that the plates have never been out of the possession of Gainsborough’s family, and this was evidently true. By then, Dupont, the one person with inside knowledge of the studio, was no longer there to identify which plates were his uncle’s and which were his.” 

Dr Sloman is not criticising any institution for assuming that these prints were by Gainsborough: “It’s not that anybody made a mistake. It’s not that anybody has tried to deceive anybody. It’s something that happened in the 1790s.

Nor is she criticising the late John Hayes, the eminent Gainsborough scholar and a former director of the National Portrait Gallery, who had included the three prints in his 1971 study, “Gainsborough As Printmaker”, which has never been revised.

She said: “Hayes was a pioneer…He did an enormous amount, cataloguing the drawings, prints and landscape paintings. What he did was extraordinary and of course he didn’t have the internet. It’s simply that time has elapsed, and new information has become available.”

Gainsborough’s landscapes were typically imaginary, artificially constructed. He is known to have arranged mosses, lichens and broccoli on a table, to recreate vegetation.

Dr Sloman acknowledged that the three compositions do resemble Gainsborough’s style, but she said: “Dupont worked in the studio and therefore everything he did looks like Gainsborough because his job was to imitate.”

The Tate, which has the “Wooded Landscape with Country Cart” and the “Wooded River Landscape” in its collection, said: “We always welcome new scholarship on items in our collection and very much look forward to hearing from Dr Sloman about this.

The British Museum, which has the “Wooded River Landscape” in its collection, said: “We are grateful for any feedback on the collection. There are half a million records for Prints and Drawings accessible online and we welcome any suggestions, improvements or questions regarding previous scholarship. We will certainly look into Dr Sloman’s research and consider amendments.”

Dr Sloman, joint author of the catalogue for the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibition, Gainsborough’s Family Album, will include her new research in her forthcoming book, Gainsborough in London, to be published by Modern Art Press on 9 March. 

Her book focusses on Gainsborough’s years in London – from 1774 to 1788 – which marked the pinnacle of his career. It was during those years that he became a favourite painter of George III and a founding member of the Royal Academy, though he later quarrelled with it over their hanging of his pictures.

Article by By Dalya Alberge 6 February 2021 in the Daily Telegraph includes illustrations