"The Day They Heard" And Wished They Hadn't
As every art lover knows, Tobias Farrow-Ball (April 15, 1889 – January 19, 1975) was a Dorset-born painter and muralist who, along with James du Lux and Fred Crown-Peynts, was at the forefront of the Dorset Regionalist art movement. The fluid, sculpted figures in his paintings - rendered with arresting realism in a variety of hard-wearing washable emulsions (suitable for all rooms) - depicted everyday people in scenes drawn from life in the greater Wimborne Minster area. Though his work is strongly associated with the characteristic contours of his native Dorset, he studied in St Ives, lived in Oswestry for more than 18 months during his "Hint of Pink" Period and even painted several seminal works there ("The Magnolia Madona" being the most well know). He also summered for a decade on Chesil Beach off the southern coast - a place he associated with his friend and fellow artist Professor Brian Thrupiece. Local folklore has it that the two once shared an ice-cream.
So far so Bonipedia! What is less known is that Tobias assuaged his grief at hearing of his friend Professor Thrupiece's disappearance (See Autorités Suisses  The Thrupiece Investigative Files: A General Introduction Threadbone Press, 12 volumes [not available separately] £212) by painting a large mural (120' x 30') inside his Evershot home. Entitled "The Day They Heard", the work was seen by only a handful of close associates before being destroyed - in a manic episode - by a 12" brush and a large tin of one of Fred Crown-Peynt's harder-wearing dark green silk-finish vinyl exterior distempers. Tragic Loss - End of Story. Or so you might think!
But no! Lost art tracer - Mr Joe-Lost Art-Tracer - has recently revealed that, before commencing the great work, Farrow-Ball first made a series of studies, one of which he worked up to the point of an almost finished picture. Moreover, this version survived the artist's destructive frenzy and is part of a series of Farrow-Balls adorning the walls of a private collection. It is to be shown to the public for the first time in the Tobias Farrow-Ball Retrospective "Outrage and Distemper" which opens in May at the Celia Notso-Pointy Gallery, Fishpond Bottom.
Only one mystery now remains: how did the artist, who died in 1975 manage to paint both the study and the mural in 2005? Mr Art-Tracer admits that this is "a live and ongoing issue" and that currently he has "no workable theory". However, he has vowed to get to the bottom of the mystery and insists that "a slight discrepancy in dates aside, there is no question that both the painting and the emotions it depicts are 100% authentic". "Thirty years is a mere blink of an eye in the history of Western Civilization" he added and even less for a dog.*
* See Simonetta Schiava, Mary Moustache & Davina Allsogi, Civilizations Thrupiece Television 2018. "I prefer Kensington Park's earlier version" Universally Agreed Opinion
Tobias Farrow-Ball's "The Day They Heard" - a genuine masterpiece but "a mere shadow of the mural for which it was a preparatory step". The female figure on the extreme left is believed to be Ms Shelley-Lulette Sizemore. The painting goes on show in May at the Celia Notso-Pointy Gallery, Fishpond Bottom.