Boy + mouse
A record of the unveiling of an exciting recent addition to the collection, which has come to us from Philadelphia, USA.
A few months ago, we were fortunate to be informed by local history buff Tony Rackstraw of a rather lovely painting being offered for sale on eBay. It was a previously unknown (to us) work in oils by our local art hero Petrus van der Velden, and it looked pretty good. Provenance, condition and the logistics of getting it here safely were investigated. We also contacted Rodney Wilson, who hadn't known about the work and agreed that it looked good. And we bid. No other bidders. Christchurch, it's yours.
The painting had been with family of the US seller for about 50 years. It's taken a while to get here and had a slightly halted journey - Hurricane Sandy slowed its departure from the US.
Once it has received some overdue conservation treatment, it will be a pleasurable work to display and will certainly add strength to the collection - it might possibly be one of the best of van der Velden's portraits that we now have.
From Tony Rackstraw's website Canterbury History blogspot:
Fine Arts.— There is now on view at Messrs H. Fisher and Sons', High street, a very fine example of Mr P. Vandervelden's work. The picture is entitled "The Mouse-trap," and represents a boy holding the trap with a mouse in it which he has just caught. The face of the boy is beautifully painted, the expression of pleasure being very cleverly caught.
Star, 31 July 1893, p.3
The painting is in need of conservation treatment and repair, and will be a real pleasure to show once we find ourselves back in business within these walls...