Tomorrow I head back to the house for the first time in a month. The decorating gods must have known this as yesterday they provided a little companion-animal for the trip in the form of this little oil painting. Until yesterday it had lingered in a local thrift store, a hospice shop, and one that I’ve long given up visiting because it’s overpriced and usually full of floral china and crystal glasses that aren’t as old as me – let alone antique. I might not have seen it, (busy as I was trying on a coat) but Peter thrust it into my vision. It looked competent enough and there was some info on the back suggesting Italian origins but there was, as always the ‘do I need it’ conundrum? In the end, I decided I needed it more than another velvet collared oat.
I love the back of paintings and this one doesn’t disappoint. It came originally from Flor & Findel, picture dealers of Florence whose label promised that ‘All Orders receive immediate attention.’ Flor & Findel were booksellers and stationers in Florence and as was common in the nineteenth century they were also picture dealers. The painting is titled Sanguimario, which translates as ‘Bloodthirsty.’ The name is a bit at odds with the rather noble looking dog which made me wonder if he was a favourite hunter rather than a household pet. A closer examination revealed the signature of Michelangelo Meucci (1840-1890), a Florentine Italian best known for paintings of dead game birds – so Sanguimario as a favourite hunting dog makes sense.
It’s a little treasure for which I’ve not yet found a place but then again I have in my luggage an Old Silver Plate samovar for which I have the same problem and a host of other finds. It’s part of the pleasure of returning to the house – finding places for the new acquisitions – things that you don’t need, and don’t have a place to put yet.
This is a detail of a tapestry depicting the return of Charles II and the restoration of the Stuarts to the English throne in 1660, which has caught Peter’s eye at this week’s auction. At the moment he’s thinking – ‘do I need it – where would it go?’ Watch this space.