While visiting the private museum of Dorset fossil collector, Wolfgang Grulke recently, Ted Nield saw a familiar image in a rather unfamiliar form. Could he have discovered a new version of Thomas Sopwith's famous portrait of Buckland?
Ted Nield writes: Most of us have at one time or another seen Thomas Sopwith’s famous pen and ink drawing of William Buckland (1784-1856) in his remarkable field gear. In addition to the cape and top hat, we also see the trademark goggly eyes that evidently impressed every portraitist who had met the man personally. But what are we to make of this watercolour, clearly based on the Sopwith original?
The broad features of the Professor’s garb have been copied freehand; but the face is a poor likeness – as though copied by an inexpert draughtsman with no particular idea of the subject’s true appearance. Also, the famous ‘blue bag’ is not coloured blue but a standard beige – which also suggests that the painter was not personally familiar with his – or her – subject.
And who is ‘APF’ of the signature? Any ideas/opinions most welcome!