Wednesday, 15 November 2006

Fra Angelico in the Spare Room

I love hunting for bargains and trawling the lists on e-bay. I've found a few treasures over the years but nothing quite in the league of the late Miss Preston of Oxford, who had two lost panels of Blessed Guido di Pietro (Fra Angelico) in her spare room. She had bought them for a mere £200 forty years ago and they were only identified shortly before her death. Read the full story here. I'm not sure which Dominican saints the panels show - presumably not St Albert the Great, whose feast we keep today, since he was only beatified in 1622 and canonised in 1931.

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Blogger Paulinus said...

In the coverage of this interesting item one thing has bothered me. How did the altarpiece come to be no longer on the altar? A fit of post-conciliar re-ordering? Unlikely.

What I'm getting at is - were these pictures looted and is the Catholic Church their true owner? If so, surely they should be returned or restitution made in much the same way as it was to Jewish families whose wealth was looted in WW2

1:07 pm  
Blogger Fr Nicholas said...

Looted, perhaps, or sold. Walk into the Brompton Oratory and you see a church full of statues, paintings and altars purchased in Italy by wealthy Victorian converts.

If the Church claimed restitution then the world's greatest galleries could potentially be emptied - for most sacred paintings were designed for use as altarpieces, etc, rather than to hang in a gallery as part of a 'collection.'

5:22 pm  
Blogger Br Lawrence, O.P. said...

It's hard to identify these Dominican saints as they don't bear any of the usual symbols. One appears to hold a walking staff. Anyway, the most likely candidates are St Dominic and St Peter Martyr as these saints were required on every Dominican altar piece after 1251.

9:22 pm  

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