Here is a brief summary:
I was extremely touched to see a Third and Final review (shown below) from a client who I had been working for, for just over a two year period (July 2016 - August 2018) in relation to a painting said to be by the Artist J.M.W Turner left to him by his father, which he was having great trouble getting authenticated, together with the so important provenance, which is needed on any work of art of this stature. Provenance means from where the painting came prior to his father acquiring it as well as some form of past history, however in this instance it was limited.
Despite my client building up a very well educated dossier from his own research which incidentally had taken him six years alone. He had come to a dead end and he contacted me to ask if I could take over the challenge and if I would act as his sole agent in not just securing the authenticity of the painting and the provenance etc but also sourcing a private sale. Before I committed myself to such a tall order, I viewed the painting in-situ and armed with my own knowledge and research and from being being 50 years in my profession, I knew who to call upon I.E. worldwide leading professors, worldwide leading art consultants and art historians: experts in old masters, I was equipped to take on the challenge. My client contacted me in 2016, as he was still being told his painting was a copy and was worth only a few hundred pounds. This didn't put me off as my journey would take me on a completely different route to his.
A fine figure secured for work of art by Vernon
“A figure higher than that predicted by auction houses secured the sale of my painting by J M W Turner which was skilfully guided by my agent Vernon Ward who through his work, effort and unfailing resolve achieved this when others doubted the provenance and authenticity of the painting. He regularly kept me informed of his progress; his dedication was faultless. Meetings were set up by Vernon, including a meeting between myself and my wife with his own firm of accountants, which gave me peace of mind that I was being looked after on all fronts. If you are selling, whether it be art, vintage jewellery or diamonds etc. Vernon is an antique expert who stands head and shoulders above the others. Words cannot express mine and my family's gratitude. I had no knowledge of this antiques expert two years ago. I initially Googled "is there an honest antiques expert on works of art" and Vernon's name came up and that's where it all began. Thank you very much indeed Vernon.”
Julian Bowden - Barrister
To research any work of art or antique can be painstakingly long. The first step was to cross-reference documentation to date. What was needed was a body of experts confirming the picture would be by the artist himself. This meant contacting learned scholars in the field of Turner, which I did and it is true to say that the art world is like going into "dark, murky waters" and to some degree this is absolutely true.
However, after a 20 month period, I had achieved confirmation by two experts who agreed the painting was original. This was from the evidence I presented being the scientific analysis, I.E. images of the painting/ paint analysis which was conducted by the Courtauld Institute of Art which also included X-Ray reports, UV IR photograph and X-Ray radiography which is a very strong endorsement and there is very little room for argument once this has been achieved. Ironically, a further two experts disagreed and for the life of me I couldn't work out why. So I went back to the drawing board and decided to present them with a fully bound presentation catalogue, in it was a detailed report of ownership, images, the painting and paper label, provenance and attribution (which I had achieved), scientific analysis and independent reports from the two professors I had been in contact with confirming it was an original. This meant the detailed report that I presented to them, persuaded them to rethink their position and subsequently a further professor provided his confirmation that it was also original, and that was what was needed! Three learned scholars in the field of Turner had confirmed it so.
The final stage in this episode was sourcing private buyers or collectors who I knew would be interested in the purchase of this piece. This meant more meetings both here and abroad, and one important meeting in France resulted in a private collector offering a five-figure sum. Although after I gave it careful consideration I declined his offer. Further meetings were had with different interested parties and eventually I achieved a substantial price.
My client was absolutely delighted. From the offset my client was extremely concerned, that should it sell on the open market, he didn't want to fall victim to similar works of art and antiques that have cropped up as being sold and described as "in the manner of", "in the style of", "follower of" meaning that they sell on the open market for a few thousand and reappear as an originals maybe a year or so later worth millions and it was up to me to protect my client from this happening.
As reported in national tabloids, here are typical examples of what my client was so concerned about in relation to what could have happened to his painting:
1. Daily Mail - Jan 9th 2015 - The £500 Constable now on sale for £2m
2. Daily Mail - Oct 28 2014 - 'Auction House' sold £11m Caravaggio for £42,000
3. Daily Mail - Mar 19 2014 - £20m Faberge egg found at a bric-a-brac stall - purchased for only £8000
4. Saturday Magazine - Aug 18 2018 - Constable sold for £35,000 now worth £2m
5. Metro - Mar 2 2012 - Tudor chain described as a copy sells for £35,000 but two years later sells for £312,250
In conclusion, there have been many more examples over the years similar to those listed above. Unless one is able to give up the time to fully research and have the patience to commit themselves to the task in hand, more mistakes may occur. The painting sold on behalf of my client took six years of his time and still coming up against a brick wall, he handed over his findings to me, an expert, where I dedicated two years in coordinating and finalising the sale on his behalf.
My client has given me his full blessing to do this short report which only touches on the surface of the extent of the work I pursued, in order to achieve the outcome I realised on his behalf. He and others agree that had he taken an alternative route, the result may well have been completely different.
If you have inherited a work of art or you think you have an old master (with provenance) contact Vernon to arrange a private appointment.