The Case of the Missing Paintings
Folks, I’m back. Not sure how long for, but hey, I’ll do my best while I’m around. I’m starting today with an odd request from an Australian sports historian, James Brear:
This is a long shot, but you never know. Can you help? I’m looking for three paintings, a portrait of Captain George Brunswick Smyth, Smyth with his horses and dogs, and a painting of his yacht. The works in question were left to Lady Rose Emily Maryon Wilson by her aunt Constantia Smyth, the widow of the captain. They were sent from Australia to Charlton House in 1900. I have tried many avenues but so far to no avail. Anything at all would be greatly appreciated.
Captain George Brunswick Smyth, I have learned, was an officer in charge of Port Philip military police in 1839 (which now means I know two things about Port Phillip – that it had a policeman called George Brunswick Smith and that it’s home to a colony of penguins…) and it is alleged that the area of Brunswick was named for him, though another theory is that it was named for splendid scarlet woman and jolly Greenwich resident Caroline of Brunswick.
Now, I’m assuming that James’s ‘many avenues’ have included Charlton House itself and various Charlton luminaries such as Carol Kenna of Charlton Parks Reminiscence Project
I don’t know what became of the Maryon Wilsons – the baronetcy died out in the 1970s, if memory serves, but I think there are still family members around. I am sure someone will know. If I had the hours in the day it might be worth looking through the papers for 1925, the year of the sale and seeing if there was an auction, I guess.
George SMyth is not a household name in Britain, so frankly these paintings could be anywhere and possibly not even named. ‘Fraid Phantom Towers doesn’t have any pictures of 19th Century policemen, dogs, horses or yachts, but I’ll keep an eye out next time I’m at Greenwich Auctions…
It’s an odd one. I don’t know why James needs to find these paintings but I know there are Phantophiles out there who enjoy a treasure hunt, so I’m passing it on.
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