Browsing the Book Palace website last night, downthetubes contributor Richard Sheaf came across this painting, attributed to Dan Dare creator Frank Hampson.
“… This is gorgeous painting, probably used for a magazine illustration or advertisement in the late 1950s,” notes the site,”depicting a scene at a British port as travellers disembark from their cruise and have to face the close examination of British Customs control.
“It has been attributed to Frank Hampson as it very closely resembles his technique and style”.
The art had Hampson fans immediately a-flutter – after all, his original art is pretty collectable – but checking base with his son, Peter Hampson, has quickly quashed excitement, noting, as has Richard, that if this art a finished piece, it’s far from the high quality you’d expect to see from Frank’s work.
“While the five figures in the foreground of the picture look complete, the rest of the picture is just not quite finished to Hampson’s usual high standard,” says Richard. “The cranes in the background look particularly sketchy.”
“I don’t think it is by my father,” Peter tells us. “In particular, he would have taken much more care with the background detail of the ship (Queen Elizabeth?) and the cranes etc. It looks to me like late 1950’s, viz the hat and coat worn by the woman in the left foreground.”
By comparison, you only have to look at examples of Frank’s early “rough” work, including this early line art, drawn after World War Two, to see that even this was incredibly “finished.”
So, who is the mystery artist? And what was the art for? We’d suggest it’s either a magazine illustration or advertisement, presumably for the brand of booze that Gramps has been caught trying to smuggle through Customs – but Courvoisier or Stolichnaya vodka?
Yours, currently, for £1250!
With thanks to Richard Sheaf and Peter Hampson