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AR - George Hardwick

George Hardwick III

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"Where did you come by this?" the white haired gent with audible plum asked a freckled lady in a straw hat.


"Well... my granddad was plasterer, and he was hired to do a restoration job on a ceiling of a old manor house that had been damaged by a leaking roof. He had to go up in the attic, and while up there he came across a great number of paintings."


"You mean there are more?" Rupert Maas asked with baited breath.


"Oh yes, he said he found dozens of them. Anyhow... they took them all down out of the damp, and this one here caught his eye. When time came to get paid he asked if he might take it as part of the payment."


The camera zoomed in on a painting of a handsome man laid out on his death bed, with a fair skinned red haired woman hovering over him in an angelic pose.


"My my. This is plainly one of the earlier works by George Hardwick, at a guess I would say late 1670's to early 80's. See his characteristic juxtaposition of colours, colours that fairly leap out from the canvas. Splendid! And rare as hens teeth, for while a prolific artist he rarely exhibited or sold any of his art work. This manor house, would it by any chance have been on the outskirts of London?"


"Oh yes, somewhere out at Dulwich apparently."


"Aha!" Rupert Maas replied in an excited tone, "George Hardwick kept a property out there for some years, it was said to have been a hub of decadent and sensuous lifestyles common to the times. This is a brilliant find, I see some damage from it's exposure to moisture, but a good restorer could remedy that. A wonderful piece! Ah, but you are interested in it's value?"


"Yes, for insurance purposes only, I'd never sell it."


"Of course." Rupert Maas nodded, they all said that. "Well, properly marketed to the ever expanding fraternity of Charles II enthusiasts, at auction it might fetch upwards of 250,000 pounds."


The freckled ladies mouth dropped open, and the camera zoomed in on her marvellous surprise, while the qualified Art critique chuckled.


Closing credits to Antiques Roadshow began to roll down the screen as the camera zoomed back out upon the setting.

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