Back in 1973 , Alex and I bought a lovely old timber framed house near the Medway towns in Kent, England. The house was a bit ramshackle but ideally large for our family of four daughters in that it had 4 bedrooms. A strange old lady had lived there with her 3rd husband , and we soon learned from the local police inspector that she and her family had quite a ' history'. She kept a pet chimpanzee whom she used to dress in childrens clothes which we found was also bizarre. However we did go ahead and bought this house with its pretty gardens.
Not long after moving in we were rummaging around in the attic when we came across the above painting, and also some beautiful old victorian glass photography plates which we knew were quite valuable. The painting itself was genuinely old and had a gash ( which you can see in the photo) as though someone had slashed it with a knife; the signature had worn away , but on the back was (is) a yellow ( with age) sticker stating that it was exhibited during the last world war as a painting by Benjamin Robert Haydon, the famous English historical painter. We waited for the lady to come back and claim the articles which she had left behind, which she did eventually , but she only wanted the glass plates. We took the painting to Sotheby's in London, but they couldn't definitely identify it , but did advise us to have it cleaned and mounted ( which we did) but advised us not to have it repaired. Since then it has taken pride of place in all of our homes ( we moved about a lot) but we still don't know the origin of this painting;
Is there anyone out there who can help?