Missing Masterpiece - The Funeral of Phocion
1594 - 1665
The picture was painted in 1648 for a wealthy friend of
the artist named Gerisier. It represents a view of the city
of Athens and has in the foreground, two slaves carrying the
body of a statesman who had refused to be bribed and as a
result had been condemned to death by being forced to drink
hemlock and given an unworthy burial.
It was still in Paris in 1665 when Louis XIV went to see
it and disappeared in about 1700 soon after the death of its
owner. Despite the efforts of French art expects to trace
it, this proved fruitless.
Francis Edward Carey lived in the
Villa Carey, in the Grange, Guernsey. Upon his death in 1921,
there was a difference of opinion between his sons, de
Lisle Carey and Conrad Carey over
the sharing-out of the contents of the house. As a result,
it was decided to hold an auction sale, at which many valuable
items were sold for a paltry price. One of the sale items,
a painting, was bought by a dealer.
Noted by Mrs Eva Norrish (née
Carey), "My great-aunt Mrs Le Marchant writes - a dealer by
the name of Barber bought this picture at the sale of Villa
Carey for £7/-. In England, he sold it to a second dealer
for £1200/- and the second dealer sold it to a third
for £20,000 and from him the Louvre, Paris bought it
On close examination this painting proved to be the genuine
masterpiece of Poussin having being missing for 220 years.
The painting has now been re-united with other Poussin masterpieces
at the Louvre, Paris, France.