Restoring a Monk

Posted on Jan 14, 2016

A couple of years ago I met an elderly lady who had made an interesting discovery, many years ago. When her family was allowed to return to their chateau, they found, among the stuff which occupying military personnel had left in the basement, this old painting of a monk.

No-one knew where it had come from. Neither was there any indication of an artist’s name. The painting was mounted on stretcher-bars which appeared less old than the painting itself, and it was framed in way that can only be described as provisional. So the painting had probably been cut from its original frame and stretcher-bars, and had therefore become so much smaller, that the artist’s name was lost.

Monk or friar

Restoring a large 18th century painting. 
The clergyman kept staring at me while I worked 
but eventually seemed to agree with the result.

Anyway, I took it home and spent a good bit of time in the company of this anonymous monk or friar[1], patching up the canvas where it had holes in it, removing the dust of ages, and painting over spots where time and insects had made their marks.

When I returned it, a few weeks later, it felt as if a friend had left the house. Very odd.

[1] Is this a monk? Or a friar? I remember an episode of Lewis in which Detective Sergeant Hathaway explained to his DI the distinction between the two, but I forgot what it was, exactly. Monks staying in the monastery but friars allowed to go about?