Tea-time show uncovers long-lost family treasure

Bath Chronicle – 10 Feb 2010

The grandson of a prolific artist visited Bath this week to track down one of his Grandfather’s paintings after seeing it on the Antiques Roadshow.

The portrait by William Russell Flint painted in 1962 was featured on the BBC programme on Sunday after its current owner Toby Talbot sent it to the Assembly Rooms when the show was filmed in April.

Mr Talbot, a dentistry consultant at the Talbot Clinic in Bathampton, has owned the painting for five years after it was recovered from a dusty vault where it had been for more than 30 years. Russell Flint’s grandson Jamie saw it on the show and contacted Mr Talbot to arrange to see it.

Jamie said his family were constantly searching for original pieces of his grandfather’s work and, with the correct permission, copied them to keep his paintings in circulation.

The 46-year-old said he remembered little about his grandfather who died when he was seven. He said:

“He was a very kindly man but I don’t have a huge recollection of him. I love all of his paintings and we have a house full of them. This particular one was kept in a vault for more than 30 years and when you come and see it you realise what a fabulous picture it is. Finding pictures like this of his is getting rarer and rarer.”

Before the programme on Sunday, which saw the painting valued at £50,000, it hung on the wall of the dental surgery in Warminster Road. It has since been removed from the premises for security reasons.

Mr Talbot said he was talking to galleries in the city and hoped it would go on display for all to see. He said:

“I consider art is for public consumption – I refuse to let it sit in a bank vault.”

Russell Flint was an acclaimed Scottish artist, well-known for his watercolour paintings, who lived between 1880 and 1969. Mr Talbot added:

“He is regarded in the 20th century as the most accomplished and brilliant watercolourist the world has produced.”

He said he had fallen in love with Flint’s work several years ago when he was a junior surgeon. He said:

“I lived with a friend in the north of London and she had than 20 paintings in her house. “Every day I came in or went to work I would walk past these canvases and I absolutely loved them. “I waited 20 years for this piece to resurface.”

A stained glass window found under the Abbey Chambers, which is now Bath Tourist Information Centre, was also on the show. The second part of the programme filmed in Bath will be aired this Sunday on BBC1 at 7pm.

Felicity Crump

Courtesy of the Bath Chronicle

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