Masks are Everywhere These Days

January 6 2021

Image of Masks are Everywhere These Days

Picture: Dreweatts

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

"Well you don't see that everyday" - I thought to myself when I was scrolling through upcoming lots at auction last night. How many nineteenth century portraits feature such ridiculous masks?

In fact, these two original portraits Attributed to John Graham Gilbert had masks painted onto them as recently as up to five years ago. They are included in the upcoming Aynhoe Park Sale held by the auction house Dreweatts, an eccentric collection amassed by the entrepreneur and collector James Perkins. The catalogue notes show that Perkins's Studio had these masks added after they had been purchased at Christie's in 2015. I wonder what Archibald Buchanan of Auchentorlie and Mary Lyon would have made of these alterations to their painted likenesses.

Perhaps the collector was following Banksy for inspiration, who famously defaced an eighteenth century portrait by Thomas Beach in The Rude Lord (sold by Sotheby's in 2007). Subsequently, my art historian friend James Innes-Mulraine managed to uncover the identity of this previously unknown sitter in a blog of his.

I wonder if the added masks will be kept by whoever buys the portrait at the sale. One hopes these additions are reversible.

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