Image courtesy of David Boysel.


Part 3: Hunt for the Missing Artwork
By David Boysel
(To read the first part of the story, click here. For the second part, click here.)

Apparently, Mr. Pflueger placed only one picture in the Lower Men’s Lounge, on the glazed and limed oak paneling. The 1934 theatre inventory lists simply – “Heythorp, sporting print, Emery Blum”.

Peter Botto had mentioned to me years ago something vague about a fox-hunt print that once hung in the Lounge. He and I both thought it strange, and that was that.

Image courtesy of David Boysel.

Photo 1. Image courtesy of David Boysel.

FIRST PHOTO – The June, 1932 Moulin photo shows the original print quite clearly. Framed simply in wood moulding, with an elegant black eglomise, or reverse-painted, border on the glass, with one simple gold leafed band.

It was, quite simply, a sophisticated, very masculine, Men’s club kind of art for the Men’s Lounge, sharply contrasting against pale golden paneling, with a room full of leather upholstered furniture and a tile floor, “like and Indian blanket”, Pflueger remarked once. It is exactly the type of art still popular into the 1940’s, often seen in better restaurants or hotel bars, or in upscale furniture stores. There is no shortage of hunt scene prints, the trick is to find exactly this one.

Photo 2. Image courtesy of David Boysel.

Photo 2. Image courtesy of David Boysel.

First thing, the inventory says “Heythorp”, and it’s actually “Heythrop”. The Oxfordshire-based Heythrop Hunt is still going on today, since 1835 they have run hounds three times a week. In fact, they were in the BBC news recently, having been fined for hunting wild fox illegally on four occasions ! I am no fan of blood sports, and Pflueger may not have been either, but I suspect this was just a pretty, evocative picture for the Men’s Lounge.

If our lost print was really published by Emory Blum, Incorporated, then it was a new print in 1931, not an antique. Our re-strike was of a 19th Century engraving by James Scott, from a painting by Stephen Pearce (1819-1904). Would Pflueger have known this ? Probably not, and it may not have mattered.

The SECOND PHOTO – shows our replaced print, identical to the Paramount’s lost original, in the same place on the Lounge paneling.

Photo 3. Image courtesy of David Boysel.

Photo 3. Image courtesy of David Boysel.

THIRD PHOTO – shows the framing process. I discovered our reproduction for sale on e-bay, but it had a typical, modern matte. I used the 1932 photo as a guide, to replicate the reverse painting and gilding, exactly as in the photo. It was returned to the lounge in November, 2010. This British sporting scene is unique in the Paramount’s artwork, but not quite unique as a non-American item. At least three other Paramount paintings were from other countries, Brazil and Italy, and all four bronzes were French. More on that, later.

Next time – something sweet.

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